Over the past 25 years of ministry, I have heard one answer over and over and over. The question: What is your biggest roadblock in discipleship? What is the biggest roadblock to people pouring their life into another spiritually?
The answer: Time. I don’t have time. They don’t have time. I get it. As a mom of two busy sons with a full schedule of speaking engagements, writing deadlines, exercising, and errands, the sheer thought of trying to line my schedule up with somebody else’s is almost impossible … almost.
I know firsthand the challenges to make it work in numerous phases of life. Here are some of the ways I have found time to make a difference in another’s life over the years:
College Years: During my college years, discipleship happened in the afternoons. I met with women in my residence hall, typically in my dorm room. I kept a small fridge of cold soft drinks and when we added our Bibles, we were good to go!
Single years: After college and before I married at the age of 34, I was able to use evenings to disciple others. I would get off work and meet someone for dinner at least once a week. One dear friend of mine named Nannette and I met for two years at a local restaurant on Tuesday nights for discipleship. She was a teacher and nights worked for us to meet regularly.
Baby years: Newborn baby haze, when you don’t even know what day it is — let alone where your Bible is — can be challenging for discipleship. However, once your baby is on some sort of schedule, it becomes much easier to find windows of opportunity. I used one nap time per week to disciple a young woman from a local high school. It turned out that when my little Josh was going down for his afternoon nap, she was getting out of school.
Office Settings: I have two friends who work in office settings and use their lunch breaks once a week to lead small group Bible studies and disciple others.
I know some men in my church go to a local barbecue restaurant weekly to study God’s Word together.
School years: This is the phase I am currently in. This phase feels like my sweet stop! My junior-high sons start school at 8:55 a.m. and get home at 4 p.m. I have time to meet with women for coffee or lunch or via a Zoom to disciple them.
Some of you reading are empty nesters! I know a dear woman who is the grandmother of 14 grand kids! She enjoys numerous church volunteer obligations and is a phenomenal help to her large family. However, she still leads a small group of women spiritually — encouraging them with God’s Word as they face life’s twists and turns in life. She holds a weekly small group in her home.
I feel that at most any stage of life, with a little creativity, you can find time to get in the boat with another person and help them spiritually. I hope these ideas help spark hope that it can be done! You can disciple people. Don’t give up! You will find a slot of time where your schedules line up!
Lori Joiner is an author, speaker and discipleship coach in Katy, Texas. To invite her to speak at your next event and to browse her full list of Bible studies and resources, visit LoriJoinerMinistries.org. You can also find her podcast, Your Discipleship Coach, on Apple podcast and Spotify.