Healthy Leaders


5 Lessons Learned From Discipleship Mistakes

Stephen VaughnStephen Vaughn

Discipleship is messy. I would love if it were a simple upward trajectory of growth, but that’s not reality. Sadly, my own laziness and selfish desires did not fit well in some of my discipleship efforts. As a result, I learned a few lessons about leading others closer to Christ.

  1. Hypocrisy doesn’t produce results. “Do as I say, not as I do” will never work in discipleship. It’s disingenuous. God will not honor my efforts to challenge another person in areas that I haven’t first dealt with myself.
  2. Failure to pray is asking to fail. How foolish of me to try to influence someone’s life without asking the Holy Spirit for help. Unfortunately, I have made this mistake more than once.
  3. A lack of intentionality fosters unproductive meetings. The goal is not to have a rigid, planned meeting. However, just “going with the flow” often keeps me from asking uncomfortable accountability questions.
  4. Wishy-washy lack of balance when demonstrating grace or rebuke doesn’t encourage godliness. I should always hold the disciple to a biblical standard. Sometimes I’ve demonstrated a lack of assertiveness in a recurring area of sin or jumped to judgment too quickly in a minor problem area. I should have prayed for godly discernment and followed the Spirit’s lead.
  5. A lack of vision gives the follower nothing to strive for. If done correctly, setting growth-goals for the individual being discipled can be helpful. I failed to challenge those I was discipling to keep growing after a successful week, often times leading them in complacency.

Those are just five, but I am sure I’ve had more blunders. Have you made mistakes like these? Can you identify other mistakes you have made? Add to this list and develop the proper responses to those blunders. Please feel free to share in the comments option below.

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