While the goal to make disciples of all nations is clear, the step-by-step “how” is a question to wrestle with. Thankfully, there are faithful mission workers at work today leading by example.
One powerful way Christians and mission workers have the chance to disciple is through mentoring. Eric, who lives in the U.S., mentors church planters in Southeast Asia via Zoom. “The exciting part of this ministry is that these leaders are applying what they learn almost instantaneously,” Eric says. “It is exciting to see their enthusiasm for making new disciples in their regions of ministry.”
These 46 men and women report between 15 and 25 new followers of Jesus each month! When Eric asked why they thought they were seeing this response, they replied, “You taught us to ask questions rather than teach the gospel. And it works! People will engage with a question. Teaching them the gospel gets us a passive response.”
Asking Questions – Someone Really Listening
Asking questions allows people the opportunity not just to speak but to be heard. We all have a desire to be seen and truly heard. Kelli, a mission worker who grew up as a mission kid in Latin America, shared about a woman who made a marked difference in her life. “(She) saw me not as the kid I once was, those many years ago, but talked to me as an equal,” Kelli says. How powerful it is to be spoken to as an equal by someone who truly cares what you have to say.
On the other end of it, mission workers can be blessed by being able to listen to others’ stories. Jana, a mission worker serving at an international school in Germany, mentors an 11th grade girl who has recently been struggling to see God’s purpose for the challenges she is facing in school.
The high schooler told Jana, “I really don’t want to miss what God is doing in my heart and my life through this. Would you please help me to really learn this lesson?” This testimony was such a blessing for Jana as she expressed how privileged she felt to serve in a role that allowed her to have these conversations.
There are countless other testimonies of God using mentors to disciple and change lives. Although it is important to share wisdom, these stories prove the power of a listening ear. Jesus gave all his followers the charge to be his hands and feet in the world. In this way we should take time to listen to those around us just as Christ listens to our stories.
A verse to cherish is Psalm 116:1, which says, “I love the Lord because he has heard my voice.”