Discipling, Coaching, Spiritual Direction, Mentoring, Leadership Development. Over the years I have enjoyed a great deal reading and studying all of those subjects. As the Minister of Discipleship at my church, I believe that developing myself in each of those areas helps me better serve my family as well as my congregation.
Over the last couple of years I’ve been trying to discover how these ministries are similar and different. Is this the quest for distinctions without any differences? I really don’t know.
It seems as though every time I read another book on one of these disciplines, the author makes lots of distinctions. For example, I recently read a book on mentoring which labored the point that mentoring was not the same thing as counseling or discipling. I read another book on spiritual direction which made much of the differences between spiritual direction and discipling and mentoring. And the list of books drawing such contrasts goes on and on.
Interestingly, although each author shows fairly convincingly why and how each discipline is different according to his or her definitions, when I look at what all the books are saying (as a whole), I find a great deal of commonality.
This is not to say that there aren’t distinctions between them, perhaps even important ones. But what draws me to these areas of minstry is the notion of serving and caring for people by influencing them (and hopefully, adding value to their lives) for Christ. My little catch phrase at the top of my blog really is the desire of my heart (and dare I say “vision” for my ministry): “Serving to renew minds, change hearts, and transform lives for the glory of God.”
For me, the ministries of discipling, coaching, mentoring, counseling, etc., in one way or another, seek to accomplish this three-fold mission. Of course, no one in their right mind could (or should) think that they have the ability to do all of this in and of themselves. Instead, it’s my prayer that the Holy Spirit working in and through me will use such service to glorify God and bless others.
So the short version of this post is this: I absolutely love pouring my life into the lives of others. I pray that God will use the gifts he has given me to bring glory to himself and bless others by renewing minds, changing hearts, and transforming lives.
Soli Deo Gloria,