To make disciples, we must make time. One word that describes anyone who is making major impact in other people's lives for the gospel is intentionality. Making time, creating opportunities, being purposeful. Without this kind of intentionality, it's very difficult to disciple people. For a lot of us, the fall season is a natural time of year for planning. Many of our daily routines that slow down in the summer, ramp back up in the fall and our plates quickly fill up. If we aren't purposeful in managing how our time will be spent, other things will spend it for us.
For this reason I recommend filling out a personal discipleship plan to start the fall. You likely have a different rhythm of life now than you did last year at this time. The group you discipled last year may have a completely different dynamic this year. Maybe it's time to scrap everything and start fresh.
Take an evening to sit down with your Bible, your calendar, and some prayer, and ask God to show you when and how you will disciple people for 2019-2020. Figure out what evenings are free for showing hospitality with neighbors or meeting with others to share the gospel. Figure out who's going to be in your d-group and when you are able to meet with them. Figure out what activities you are going to be doing most regularly that you could invite your people in to do life-on-life discipleship. Consider what weeks you will be "on" with consistent meetings and when you will take a break. Plan out your Bible reading and chart out how long it would take you to finish it together with a few people in your group.
Ultimately, we must yield our plans to the Holy Spirit, so we should write them in pencil being willing to adjust when He says so. "The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord." (Prov. 16:1) But even if it's in pencil, it's this sort of intentionality that keeps us effective in disciple making.
Leveraging Football Season for Disciple Making
It's football season, and I am hyped about it. Football is a big deal in our culture. Many people watch it, are influenced by it, and debate about it. There are beautiful things about the game that clearly make it a gift from God. It is a way to appreciate God's power to create and bestow athletic ability. A way to experience joy and rest. All of these are kind gifts from our Father. There's an ugly side to football, too. In some parts of America, football looks very similar to a religion. It can drastically affect people's minds, wills, and emotions. It can even lead to sinful anger, violence, and greed. In short, football can be either an idol or a way to worship Christ.
In 1 Corinthians chapters 8-10, Paul takes issue with certain foods that Christians were unsure how to interact with. Food clearly was a good gift from God, but culturally some people had abused it while participating in idol worship. So Paul addresses this issue at length and lands on this principle.
"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Essentially he says the issue isn't food, it's what you worship. In fact, you can leverage food (or anything you do) to worship Christ. Most of us either enjoy football or are discipling people who do. Below are some ideas for leveraging football season for disciple making.
-Watch games with your d-group and their families as a way to do life-on-life.
-If you aren't a fan, prepare game foods for others together as a way to do life-on-life and serve.
-Intentionally invite lost friends to watch games with your group as a way to new build friendships. Use time outs and half time to engage spiritual questions. (This models evangelism for your D-Group)
-When people (possibly yourself) begin talking about games in a way that reveals sinful idolatry. Consider ways to remind them of identity in Christ and not sport.
-Find ways to pray for and serve local youth or school football teams as a way to be on mission with your D-Group.