My guidelines and promises to myself in discipling others:
1. Thou shalt not bring thy own stuff into the relationship and make everything about you – So many times I see people do this and do it myself. Something the person I am discipling says triggers something I remember about my own life. It’s OK to share a story, but this can get out of hand quickly.
2. Thou shalt come prepared – Arrive early, having prayed, spiritually nourished and emotionally stable. Everyone has bad weeks, but that should be the occasional occurrence, not the norm
3. Thou shalt wait – Don’t come into the meeting with lots to say before you even make eye contact. Things may have changed since the last meeting, or you might just need to listen. Don’t arrive with your guns ready.
4. Thou shalt not wait – Don’t be afraid to jump into a situation that needs clarity, needs interrupting, or needs your help. You have been invited into that if you are in a discipleship relationship. Don’t flinch.
5. Thou shalt not make this into therapy – Discipleship, though it may look like it at times, is not therapy. The only counselor that should show up is God’s counsel.
6. Thou shalt not call out every problem you see – Often there are lots of issues going on all at once. It’s like golf, you can’t focus on your grip, your stance, the position of your arm, your backswing, your head, your eye contact, and the many other minutia at the same time. Don’t over burden disciples with all that they need to work on. Give them one thing, or two.
7. Thou shalt not condemn when you don’t see the progress you wished for – It’s not fair or helpful to show too much disappointment in someone’s working through their problems. They know they didn’t measure up this week. They need safety and support, and they came to you for it.
8. Thou shalt not micro-manage – Too many suggested solutions create co-dependance and enabling behavior. It feels good to be needed, but don’t cave to giving all the solutions. Let your disciple start coming up with their own solutions.
9. Thou shalt always challenge AND affirm – One of these is completely ineffective without the other. Both need to be present for a consistent movement forward.
10. Thou shalt have faith in God to do the work you can’t – You can’t make the real changes. Those are God’s realm. Be faithful to what you are called to. Don’t try to be God, and don’t take credit for God’s work. Just be faithful.