Running has always been an outlet for me—a place to clear my head, destress, and hear from God; and because of that, for most of my life it was something I did alone. However, a few years ago I met a woman, lovingly referred to as “Fast Anne”, who changed all that. Anne taught me how running with a friend could be some of the best and cheapest therapy around! She taught me how to run her pace and to gracefully accept the days where running felt more like a chore than a joy. Proverbs 27:17 say, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another,” and that is exactly what those runs were for both of us. Running while laughing or crying became the norm for us and God used those runs with Anne to prepare me for our Charles Street running group.
Learning to run with a group of people and share something that had been so sacred to me for so many years was not something I did willingly at first. It felt like an intrusion on “my time” instead of something that could be used to encourage and disciple others. Those early days of running group were a refining period in my own life as God molded my heart to align with His mission and what He would use my gift of running to accomplish. Oftentimes, we think that we have to stop doing everything we love in order to follow Jesus, and while this is sometimes true, most of the time He can take something that we are already passionate about and use it for His glory. What is something that you have in your own life that you are naturally gifted in that you can use to further God’s kingdom? What brings you joy and how can you find a way to evoke that same joy in others by sharing your passion with them?
In addition to using our own gifts, Jesus modeled what it looks like to meet people where they are when discipling. When He called Simon and Andrew (two fishermen), He told them He would make them “fishers of men” (Mt. 4:19). He also used parables that talked about farmers, businessmen, merchants, and shepherds to speak to the crowds to relate to them in ways they would understand. This same way of discipling also applies to us. Our Charles Street running group has always encompassed multiple paces and welcomed the “non runner” to join. We adjust our pace to meet theirs, and gradually increase it over time to bring them alongside us in our journey. This is precisely what discipleship is—inviting someone into your space and encouraging them to keep in step with you, as you keep in step with the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:25).
Once you have identified those people in your life that God is calling you to disciple, here are the next couple questions you should be asking: What God-given gifts do you have that you can implement into your discipleship strategy? What do you need to adjust in order to meet the needs of those you are discipling?
Let’s do this!