The Most Crucial Youth Ministry Discipleship Question???? Who’s Discipling You?

In the previous two posts we’ve look at youth ministry discipleship. Discipleship is more than filling in the blanks, and it can be messy, unplanned, and takes a lot of relational time. Today, I have a challenge for myself I want pass on to you too… Here’s why:

The way we are discipled will often correlate into how we disciple others… Who’s discipling you?

Discipleship Questions

So my challenge for myself and for you is simply this: In the coming weeks, I am challenging myself to create time and space to seek out Godly people in my life to help disciple me. It does not matter how old or experienced we are, we all need to look up to a ‘Paul’ in our lives who has the time to invest in us. I already have a few great guys who have invested in me, but if I am honest, my life and schedule has taken over recently.

As you look for people to disciple you, what should this look like? Here’s what I am looking for: 

1. They are available and have the TIME: We live in a fast paced world. Some of the most Godly men and women are ineffective because of one foundational deficiency: They are simply too busy. For you and I, I would seek out those people who are good time managers or have more time on their hands. Some of the best people to disciple you are in their retirement years because they have more time and will MAKE time for you. I know it might be awkward asking an older guy or gal to meet with you at first, but you will be blessed if you do so… Who at your church or in your community is strong in their faith and has TIME?

2. They help me dig into God’s Word and prayer: Years ago when I lived in the UK,  I met regularly with a guy called Chris who studied the Bible with me. I will never forget his passion, his knowledge, and the basic bible study skills he gave me. The way I personally study the bible and the way in which I help others study is because of Chris. What are you learning and what are you passing on?

3. They can speak into my family life: When I first arrived at my current church, I sought out a guy who teaches a number of our family and marriage classes. After a few coffees with him, I asked him to look out for me and gave him permission to check in with me about my family. To this day Bob has sought me out to meet for coffee on numerous occasions. We have dinner with him and his wife regularly and they have been a huge support to our family. We are learning from them in so many ways and are incredibly thankful for the Godly wisdom they provide.

4. Ask them to look for areas of weakness: I have always made it a point to seek out Godly leaders around me as a way to grow and glean from them. On the odd occasion, leaders like this will offer to help in some way where they see a need in my life. Years ago, a guy named Dan could see I was struggling as a young leader and offered to meet with me regularly so he could help me become more assertive and confident as a leader. I’ll be honest, at first it stung to hear that he could see I was lacking in a tender area of my life. Yet, after I gathered myself up off the floor from my crying, I agreed to meet with him. Dan was right about what he saw and I needed his advice… Who are are you letting in to speak truth into your life?

Sometimes the hardest thing to do as a leader is ask someone to look for areas of weakness and allow them in to help you…

Remember this key: The way I am being discipled with impact the way I am discipling others. It does not matter how old or wise I think I am, I am always going to need to have a ‘Paul’ in my life to disciple me, as I look to disciple the ‘Timothy’s’ in my life.

In the next 4 weeks I challenge you to seek out one or two Godly people to disciple you. Are you in?

Comment and let me know if you are? Let’s commit to this together!

Phil <><


  • Heather W

    Wow, I was just sharing with another friend about this. That it does not matter if we are older now or in leadership positions, we still need a mentor. Someone who will encourage and be honest with us. Great post!

  • philbell

    Thanks Heather! I agree, it does not matter how old or experienced we feel we are. We all need someone to sharpen us and there is always room for improvement.

  • Jay Lehman

    i am interested in the weird dichotomy that i saw in my first years as a youth pastor – that on one hand i craved the input of someone who believed in me, yet straight-armed most opportunities to be discipled or to let a mentor in deep enough to make a difference! Any advice for how to approach younger guys and penetrate those defences?

  • philbell

    Jay, just a great question here!!!!!

    First, I think the foundation is built in relationships. I have a few mentor type people in my life who have ‘worked’ their way in slowly by getting to know me, building trust, and seeking to listen first. As someone who tries to speak into the life of others, this is crucial. Many young youth workers can often be defensive and quick to react to correction. I think they are more open when a solid and consistent foundation of relationship building has occurred. There simply are no short cuts to this…

    Secondly, ask don’t tell… As simple as this might sound, I think constantly asking questions like, “how can I pray for you?” Or, “how can I support you?” This is huge. Often older guys (and gals) will see deficiencies in leadership or skills of a younger leader, and breeze in with advice without trust and a solid relationship being formed. As older leaders we have to communicate longevity in relationship and learn to listen and ask lots of questions…

    Finally, above all, our life has to display Christlike leadership in such a way, that young leaders are drawn to us for advice. There are two or three people I constantly seek out to this day because of their leadership example.

    As you can see, there are no silver bullets here and maybe you expected this answer? But you ask a great question and I really appreciate getting me to think this through. No short cuts here :-)

    Phil <