Imagine this with me. You know someone in your life has had a tough day. It happens to be Monday, and it also happens to be the finale of Dancing with the Stars. This particular person loves Dancing with the Stars. What if this person just needs you to invite them over to watch Dancing with the Stars?
This is exactly what happened. One evening, I knew one of the girls in my group, Bella, was having a tough day. In the moment, what she needed from me was to be present. To be present with people you’re investing in, you need to know them and be available.
1. Know Them
Those you are discipling will feel cared for if you know what they enjoy. For instance, I love Madam Secretary, but Bella doesn’t watch Madam Secretary. If I invite her over to watch Madam Secretary, we’re spending time together, but I haven’t really considered her. I know that Bella loves Dancing with the Stars because I know Bella.
We need to ask ourselves, “Do we know the people we’re pouring into?” Do you know what excites them? Do you know their favorite snack? Can you tell when they’re upset? If someone else were to ask for a gift suggestion, would you know what to tell them? Do you know what they struggle with? Can you identify their unique gifts from the Lord?
Your availability for those you are discipling will not matter much if you do not know them. However, you will not get to know them if you’re never available.
2. Be Available
On that Monday, I called Bella and told her I was leaving my house to pick her up to watch Dancing with the Stars. I also decided we should get ice cream. Here’s the visual you need though: I was already in my pajamas, and so was Bella. We walked into Harris Teeter together in pajamas and Chacos at what felt like 11:00 pm. Upon walking through the doors, I looked down at my watch and realized it was 8:06 pm. We were in our pajamas at 8:06 pm on a Monday night in Harris Teeter. To add to the embarrassment, I asked a cashier to take our photo. I think discipleship looks a lot more like this sometimes than sitting in a coffee shop.
Each of us are in different stages of life with varying amounts of availability. Some of you can’t leave your house on a Monday night to pick someone up you’re discipling. I get that. Maybe you need to consider inviting them into something you’re already doing. Workout together, go grocery shopping together, schedule play dates with your kids together, and maybe even fold laundry together.
It doesn’t have to be glamorous or worthy of an Instagram photo. At the end of my life, I’m not going to remember when the woman pouring into my life got coffee with me. I’m going to remember the first time she said she didn’t clean the house because it was just me coming over—I was family. Bella’s not going to remember our coffee dates; she’s going to remember walking through Harris Teeter in our pajamas, eating ice cream, and watching Dancing with the Stars.
Be present with the people you’re investing in. Know them, and be available. Then they will do it with someone, and that person will do it with someone until Jesus returns.
-Greta, College Team