Oftentimes, we tend to initiate discipleship relationships without making clear what we
are really talking about. A student might think you have agreed to get together every
once and awhile for dating advice, while you are thinking she has agreed to meet for
in depth one-on-one theological tutorship. If my own experience is any guide, often
neither disciple, nor discipler, has a clear vision of what discipleship is.
That tends to lower the overall quality of our discipleship, and set us up for the discipleship
equivalent of the “Let’s just be friends” conversation; You’ve been discipling
someone who isn’t all that interested in having a ministry. Then you hear a talk on
investing your life in the right people, and realize you aren’t. So you get together with
your disciple to “break up” so you can go train the next Billy Graham. You feel like a
jerk, they feel like you’re a jerk, and it’s just plain lousy. Ah, the joys of ministry.