What If I’m Being Discipled by A Younger Person?

In my previous blog, I have attempted to answer the question, Should We Disciple Older People? I wrote primarily for disciple-makers or disciplers. In this blog, I’m writing for disciples who are discipled by someone younger than them.

When a disciple is discipled by a younger person, almost inevitable comes to him the thought of looking for an older discipler. But to look for an older discipler is not always a good idea.

I’m here to give practical counsel (and hopefully it helps) to disciples who are being discipled by someone younger than them and is possibly thinking of looking for an older discipler.

So disciple, before you ask yourself, “Should I look for an older discipler?” I think you should first ask yourself the following questions:

1. Have I given my discipler enough time to model me an exemplary life? Most of the time, we are too quick on concluding that younger people cannot help at all. Whenever we do this, we are despising their youth. First Timothy 4:12 says:

12Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

In the verse, the apostle Paul is encouraging Timothy, a pastor in the Ephesian church, not to let anyone look down on him because of his age, and exhorts him to win the believers by setting them an example. So with your discipler who is younger than you, do not look down on him. Give him time to model you an exemplary life.

2. Have I humbled myself and fully submitted myself to his discipleship? This can just be a pride issue. We can’t bear the thought that someone younger is truly living an exemplary life and is discipling someone older like you. We do not fully submit to his counsel, consequently, and we prefer to look for another discipler, ultimately. So make an assessment first; check your true motives.

3. Have I been praying for him? Living an exemplary life is not easy, especially when the one trying to live it is discipling people who are older than him. We immediately give up on our disciplers without even saying a prayer for him. So pray for him.

So disciple, don’t be too quick. Ask yourself the questions above. Only when you have reflected on the questions and are satisfied with your answers can you consider to look for an older discipler.

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About Enzo Cortes

Enzo Cortes is the Youth Coordinator of Jzone Makati, the youth ministry of Christ's Commission Fellowship (CCF) Makati. He also speaks for various youth and young adult groups, including CCF Makati's young singles ministry, Friday Night Light. He loves to write, read books and blogs, drink coffee, and watch MMA fights.

11 responses to “What If I’m Being Discipled by A Younger Person?”

  1. Jc Yu says :

    Yo! Enzo! hehehe. First of all thanks for putting your thoughts and your stand on your heated discussion here.

    Let me air out my thoughts.

    First is this made me look at Jesus the best example for discipleship. It made me wonder the age difference between him and his disciples. the bible didn’t mention such a thing and i haven’t made any research on it yet but i believe it would be interesting. was Jesus discipling anybody older?

    Regarding on your biblical basis, paul said this to timothy because He was the elder of his church and this was his encouragement for Him since he had people who was actually above him and the congregation he was leading was much older than him. hence it is not really a matter of discipleship but of church leadership which can be related to discipleship.

    I have nothing against discpling older people but i do believe that there are acceptable age difference. Discipleship should be well rounded. but then again discipleship should be biblical and not experiential though experiece greatly helps in discipleship. we need to go back to the roots. when a discpler talks about managing finances, household, leadreship or what not i believe that the bible is morethan sufficient to teach such things. or the disciple maker should base his every decision and counsel on the bible. Not only making it as his primary tool but also his final measure of judgement and descision.

    We need to look back at the very purpose of discipleship which is to draw people to become more like Christ. The aim of discipleship is being able to say ‘follow me as i follow Christ’ with this in mind it does not matter if the discler would be older or younger but that he helps his disciples to become a follower of Chirst and be more and more like Jesus as they grow in knowledge and love of Him.

    God bless you Enzo and may more and more people be blessed by you as youwrite blogs like this and to disciple other people to become followers of Christ.

    • Enzo Cortes says :

      Hi JC. Thank you for your comment. I was trying to figure out if you’re pointing out a weakness in my argument or you are reaffirming it. (So I’m clueless as to how to respond). But after reading it again, I think you are reaffirming my point (but please let me know if it is otherwise, that I may give a proper response).

      Again, thank you for your thoughts and encouragement.

  2. Jc yu says :

    It’s actually both. Since you answered both a yes an a no. I’m merely pointing out a reason for discipleship and that this needs to be the basis for the answer to such a question. That age should not be the qualifier but rather the ability to guide his disciples to a deepr relationship with God. If a younger person can do this to an older person then i believe that he morethan qualified to disciple. I long to see everyone diciple not base on their experience but base on the word of God.

    • Enzo Cortes says :

      Thank you for clarifying it.

      I love this: “I long to see everyone disciple not base on their experience but base on the word of God.” A resounding Yes! O, may this be the commitment of yours and mine, as well as of every disciple-maker.

  3. KristovBlue says :

    I agree with JC, I have two disciplers who are both younger than me and it has not become a problem to us… they have been trained well, to study the Bible and live the Bible, they both have admitted to vulnerability and sometimes being guilty of being stubborn against the Bible but they have made a commitment to do a better job of discipling us by adhering to the Bible more and immersing themselves in what the Lord wants for them… I agree, I have seen some older people being discipled by younger people long for something more in the disciple-discipler relationship, finding that there is something lacking, but ultimately as JC said that it is mostly a matter of Biblical principle. I find no problem of being discipled by 2 people who are younger than me because they have in all their ability made it a point to continue learning even outside of their comfort zones, which both inspires and empowers us to do the same… In terms of the experience aspect. I don’t think that the measure should be in the years people have been discipling but in the amount of effort and passion they have put in and are willing to put in… it isn’t always going to be a match between disciples and disciplers and it’s not just age difference that counts as a factor in it… there is a clash of interests, clash of personalities (like my dad and his discipler), a difference in thought process, difference in environmental upbringing and we try and mostly associate it with the age difference but they are really different things that have minimal relations to each other… Just sayin’ hahaha. I love my disciplers… they were the ones who changed me and we’ve had falling outs in our dgroup and this is what I’ve learned from it… I agree also with your “things to ponder on” before looking for another discipler 😀 but it’s something that we must also ask ourselves even if we have older disciples and are considering of moving to another dgroup…

    • Enzo Cortes says :

      Hi Matt. Thank you for your comment. Because of your comment and JC’s, I realized that I have overlooked an important component of disciple-making, which is the Word of God.

      I will be posting another blog soon. Please keep in touch.

  4. Luigi Riego says :

    I personally agree on what Matt and JC said. There really are things to be evaluated when you’re being discipled by younger men. But if you still have some problems between you and your discipler in terms of your Spiritual growth, then you must go and check again the basic problems in a dgroup, and maybe you’ll find your answer: pride issues (between you and your dgroup members or leader), accountability, schedule/time, and many more that I may have overlooked.

    There are things that should really be evaluated when you’re having problems with your discipler (no matter if he/she is older or younger). But by telling them your concerns and giving them the chance to lead you once again is the best thing to do, because it will trigger points where both you and your discipler would grow 🙂

    • Enzo Cortes says :

      Hi Luigi. Thank you for your comment.

      I like this: “By telling them your concerns and giving them the chance to lead you once again is the best thing to do, because it will trigger points where both you and your discipler would grow.”

  5. Yam says :

    More often than not, discipleship becomes hard when we do it with formulas. There are no rules here, people. Discipleship “just happens.” It is a “spill-out” of the Life we received from God as we toast our cups with another believer — the love just overflows and spills on people. Discipleship is not a concept dependent on pre-requisites (though there are standards); it just comes naturally to anyone filled with the Spirit, regardless of questions posed because of age.

    • Yam says :

      Discipleship is a credible reflection of the inner well-spring of the believer’s heart. It tells us how balanced our spiritual life is. If we focus too much on God’s Word yet miss out on the doing part, then we hold back the life-giving power of the Word to our disciples’ lives. On the other hand, if we focus primarily on life experiences and truths and fail to establish the Bible as the integrating central force in a believer’s life, then I’m afraid we are feeding our disciples empty spoonfuls of truth; their roots won’t be able to penetrate the surface, and they will wither and fall away when life’s heat comes.

      Thank you for the read. You guys just do it “naturally” now. God bless.

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