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I have a standing Tuesday afternoon discipleship appointment with about eight guys. They come to our house after work. We sit on the porch and talk about a specific subject. We pray. And then we eat something Karen (plus Kacie and KK, the two young ladies she disciples in the arts of hospitality)…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

I have a standing Tuesday afternoon discipleship appointment with about eight guys. They come to our house after work. We sit on the porch and talk about a specific subject. We pray. And then we eat something Karen (plus Kacie and KK, the two young ladies she disciples in the arts of hospitality) has prepared.

The weather was perfect yesterday. We talked about the idea of "biblical partnership." I pulled together some material and shared from my life. We discussed how we have partnerships in all walks of life and the steps we can take to improve them. Afterward, we went inside and discovered that the women had gone to a Chinese market and prepared an incredible meal.

The part of the evening that we'd planned, the intentional part, ended. The guys felt cared for. They knew in a fresh, tangible way that we love them and want to see them become great. We talked in the kitchen and some stayed behind to hang out for the evening.

We were modeling something I teach the guys about a lot: intentionality. As you disciple others, you need to balance intentional times with serendipitous times. Studying the life of Jesus, you can see a picture of how to do it.
Jesus neither lived a rigid, rule-bound life, nor a whimsically organized one. In the Hebraic culture of the day, relationships were more important than schedules, but certain times were set aside for special purposes. Jesus balanced intentionality with serendipity in the following ways:

•    He regularly got the disciples together to teach them.
•    He periodically did outreaches.
•    He regularly debriefed the disciples.
•    He read and studied Scripture, regularly quoting it.
•    He appears regularly in the synagogue.
•    He asks for an appointment with people like Zacchaeus.

•    He healed those who come to him on the spot.
•    He fed his disciples by gleaning.
•    He got resources as they were needed: a donkey, taxes.
•    Ministry happened as he bumped into people along the way.
•    He would leave crowds to attend to the needs of individuals.

The best discipleship often happens serendipitously while cooking, cleaning, shopping, or hanging out.  Your efforts to demonstrate that you care don't seem to be tainted by mixed motives to the disciple.  They don’t feel like they are your project.  They're more likely to be receptive to challenge.  You can hold them accountable in a natural way.

I'm always looking for opportunities to intentionally spend time with disciples.  These are times to encourage, minister, and challenge. But I also want to keep my door open for spontaneous conversation. 

You can let the pendulum swing too far one way or the other. Jesus shows that you need both. He calls all of us to be disciple makers. The best way to start demonstrating intentionality is by asking him, "Lord, who can I disciple?" And when he brings someone to mind, begin showing them you care by finding ways to be a good friend to them.

Comments (12)

  • have you thought about teaching the guys as well as the girls the arts of hospitality?

    that way, they could minister in that way, too, whether they have wives in their future, or not.

    it would also “house break” them for their living arrangements now, as well as any in the future.

    also, some of the best times I’ve ever had w/ 20somethings has been spent chopping veggies, setting the table, grating cheese, or grilling meat. It will also make the whole process meal prep faster & a whale of a lot more fun

  • I agree with Dan! It’s great to serve our men, but nothing’s worse than a helpless man, especially when marriage comes and a baby comes….etc.

    My husband is a great example of loving and serving and doing it well with a good heart.

  • This – around the table, walking along the way, cooking dinner, and bumping into opportunity – is my favorite way to live.

    This Adventures in Gainesville life…

  • Dan and Kathy – my approach is to respond to the felt need of the people I disciple. Same with Karen. The girls came to her and said, “Teach us hospitality ministry.” The guys said, “Share with us anything God puts on your heart.” So that’s what we do.

    Back when I was a wrestler, I learned to cook, so I’ve got that skill set if any guys show up wanting to learn…

  • It’s a privilege to be one that gets to glean from Seth, and it’s one of my favorite times, always! Seriously, Seth does a great job. Thanks Seth, for living in a way that models things so well!

  • If we are overly intentional we can appear rigid and uncaring. If we live an impromptu life it may seem too scattered to create any security in others. Sometimes we have tensions we manage more than problems we solve. Thanks for this Seth…..

  • Great post! I think balance is an important theme we find in scripture. It’s great to have a plan while being flexible at the same time.

  • Thanks, Derek, Aubree and Butch. Noe – hanging out (intentionally) with you and the guys is always one of the highlights of my week. Thanks for going for it!

  • This is awesome Seth and well-put. We would all benefit to make more time for deeper relationships.

  • This is very much on topic of where I am in my life. Planning but also being conscious of Christ’s changing my plans too. Being aware of time as I am God’s steward and He’s giving me this time in my life. Being intentional so I don’t flounder. Thank you for the timely words Lord and Seth…

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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