This morning I had a great visit with Michael, a spiritual son who was once stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio but now lives on the Minneapolis side of the Twin Cities. Over the past four years, Michael successfully completed a nursing program at Metro State University and has now begun working at a major hospital in Minneapolis. As we caught up on life over the past year, Michael talked about not being ready for marriage because he felt like there were spiritual things that he felt the need to address.
Our conversation moved into Michael’s time in the Word, which has been minimal (I can completely understand the high cost of nursing school on “optional” activities). I thought through ways that could be helpful for Michael to begin to get back into the Word, other than hearing a sermon every other week (his nursing schedule requires working every other weekend).
As we explored our options, I learned that Michael spends about 30 minutes every morning driving to work. So we started to explore how he could better use that time by listening to God’s Word through a Bible app or a Christian podcast on his cellphone.
We talked about determining a specific goal for his Christian walk, rather than a broad, more vague goal of “being a better Christian.” Instead, we talked about beginning to get a better grasp on God’s Word by taking “baby steps” (a term popularized by financial advisor Dave Ramsey). Since Michael has been athletic in the past (we both used to run together in 5-kilometer events in the Twin Cities), he understood that a goal to run one mile was much more doable, and was also on the way to a longer-range goal of running ten miles.
I asked Michael to take three or four days to think through a reasonable objective to begin developing in his time in God’s Word and one or two activities that he could do over the next three months. If I don’t hear from him within five days, I’ll call him to remind him of the commitment we made together.
Discipling men must be done in small chucks in order to help them feel successful. If the goal is too broad or too far out, they can easily get frustrated and feel like a failure. Simple goals that are achievable are what we need to focus on as we help others become disciples of Jesus who can also disciple others.
For a simple illustration on ways to get into God’s Word see the Hand Illustration here.