Imagine how different the story might have read had Jesus chosen to disciple twelve women instead of twelve men. I am certain there would have been more detailed questions and discussion!
By God’s design, women think differently, have different emotional needs, interact differently and process things differently than men. Because women can understand and naturally relate to one another, it’s easier for them to engage in a discipleship relationship with other women. The goal of discipleship is to produce fully devoted followers of Christ who will then go and make disciples. What do women’s discipleship groups look like?
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- Jesus is our model and the Holy Spirit is our Helper in discipleship. Jesus poured into the lives of His disciples and taught them how to love, pray, trust, minister, and serve. These practices would be needed for the time when He would no longer be standing beside them. Jesus also sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within believers and to be our Helper as we follow Him (John 14:25-26; 16:13-14).
- Accountability is essential. Effective discipleship takes place when a small group of 4-5 women gather for the purpose of helping one another “grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). To maintain the spiritual disciplines, we need other women encouraging us along the way. Discipline is a word we love to hate. Knowing we will have to quote the verses we have memorized and share what we had learned from God’s Word motivates us. In return, God blesses our obedience and reveals more of Himself to us (John 14:21; 15:4-8).
- Teaching women God’s Word. Hebrews 4:12 says, “The Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword. It has the power to divide between soul and spirit, joint and marrow, and to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Our pastor likes to say, “Get into the Word until the Word gets into you.” To become self-feeders, women must learn how to study and apply God’s Word for themselves.
- Guiding women to develop spiritual disciplines, such as prayer and memorizing Scripture. Prayer and Scripture are the most powerful tools we have in our arsenal to fight against the enemy (Eph. 6:10-18). In a discipleship relationship, women learn to use these tools effectively.
- Helping women discover and use their spiritual gifts. The Holy Spirit imparts spiritual gifts to believers for the building up of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:6-7). When women discover and begin using the gifts God has given them, they are more apt to engage in their churches and communities.
- Launching women to serve locally and globally. Jesus said, “You are to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, and to the uttermost parts of the world,“ (Acts 1:8). A witness is someone who tells what they know they to be true. As women study God’s word, they discover who God is and who they are in Christ. Prepared to share the Christ-life with others, the process begins all over again as we become disciples who make disciples (2 Timothy 2:2).
Originally posted on Replicate’s blog here. Used by permission.