Where do you point a person like Mike to start?
I would tell Mike to do the following:
- 1Read the stories of Jesus in the Gospels
- 2Ask God to strengthen his relationship with Jesus
- 3Think about those stories throughout the day
1. Read the stories of Jesus in the Gospels
I would tell Mike to read the stories of Jesus found in the Gospels. I would encourage Mike to get a Bible that has subtitles in the chapters to help him easily locate the stories. I want Mike to read only the stories (Jesus healing, Jesus teaching). While the narrative is important, for now I want Mike to focus on knowing Jesus.
I don’t want Mike reading the Old Testament or the Epistles at this point. Yes, there is great value in these sections of the Bible, but not yet for Mike. Mike needs to remember. Mike needs to get to know Jesus again.
I don’t want Mike reading commentaries or even books about Jesus. While helpful, these resources can often lead a person to become academic in their approach to discipleship.
2. Ask God to strengthen his relationship in jesus
I would have Mike pray every day that God would strengthen his rediscovered relationship with Jesus. Mike needs to get reacquainted with Jesus.
Think of it as two friends who have been separated for a long time and now they have been reunited. I am sure there are a few things Mike and Jesus need to work out.
Right now, Mike doesn’t need to be focused on theological doctrines. Mike doesn’t need to worry about pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, post-tribulation. He doesn’t need to study the doctrine of the Trinity. Mike needs to get to know Jesus again.
Mike’s relationship with Jesus needs to be re-established. There isn’t a better way to do this other than to pray for it.
3.Think about those stories throughout the day
I would have Mike recall the stories he is reading about Jesus. Assuming he is reading the stories before he goes to work, I would have him recall them in his mind at lunch. I might have Mike share the stories with his children as part of a bed-time ritual.
If Mike is keeping a journal, I would have him reflect on what those stories mean to him in his own faith development. How does the healing of a blind man relate to Mike? What does it feel like to hear Jesus teach about being the light of the world?
The intent is to have Jesus in the forefront of Mike’s mind all day long. I want Mike to walk with Jesus every moment of his life, not just go to church to hear about Jesus for an hour on Sunday.
Sounds overly simple, I know. Here’s why I keep it so simple:
• Wrapped around the axle
Too often new disciples get wrapped around the axle about nuances, doctrine, and theology, losing sight that discipleship is about a relationship with Jesus, not knowledge about Jesus.
•Over saturation is not good
I lived on a very dry island for a while. A little rain was always welcomed. A lot of rain was feared. You see, the ground was so dry it could not absorb a heavy rain. If it rained a lot, we faced mudslides and flooding.
So it is with new discipleship. The key focus needs to be on getting to know Jesus. Like any relationship being built, baby steps are best. Move too fast and the relationship foundation isn’t strong enough for a lifetime commitment.
There is a danger that Mike can be so excited about his rediscovered faith that he can over do it. Mike could burn himself out, placing his family life at risk, and even his long-term relationship with Jesus. Obsession is not a healthy relationship. Love, however, is. Slow and steady is always the best course for a relationship, even with Jesus.
Wrapping it up
As you can see, I just want Mike to get to know Jesus again. That's it. I am not trying to mentor Mike to be a biblical scholar. I don't expect Mike to lead a small group. I just want Mike to have a healthy relationship with Jesus.
How would you mentor a new person in Christ?