In challenging times, God opens doors to virtual discipleship. While we social distance to battle Covid, we detour into different disciple making avenues. After countless hours of Zoom, I can share some benefits of virtual discipleship.
Ask like Jesus
Martin Copenhaver, in his book Jesus is the Question, shares this: “In the four Gospels Jesus asks 307 different questions. By contrast, he is only asked 183 questions… Two published studies state that Jesus directly answers only 3 of 183 questions he is asked. According to my count, Jesus directly answers as many as 8 of the question he is asked.” (Page xviii).
How did Jesus disciple those around Him? Did he present content or ask questions?
I was trained to disciple with content and there is an advantage to that. But sometimes less is more, and we gain a significant advantage by asking questions instead.
I find virtual environments lend themselves to questions.
Keep it simple
The process of asking questions and listening is simple once you learn to do it well. It is a big shift in how we disciple people, but the simple approach yields great dividends. The biggest challenges are to recognize the need and to implement this approach to discipleship.
Find the intrinsic motivation
When I disciple, I have one major goal: find the intrinsic motivation button. NOTHING can stop a person who is intrinsically motivated to seek Jesus Christ. Often we hope to find this intrinsic motivation through the content we share. Virtual discipleship brings motivation into focus.
Virtual discipleship does have a different feel. It may take some time to get used to, but this intentional engagement produces powerful fruit.
Virtual places like Zoom allow for focused conversation. Face to face discipleship can be distracted by sensory stimulation like fidgeting, adjusting, or even pausing to think. These stimuli are more subdued in virtual discipleship.
Asking questions, listening, and recording responses requires discipline. It’s a simple tool but it requires me to stay on task.
Avoid travel restrictions
The local church is assigned to impact Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and uttermost places. Unfortunately, we change how we view discipleship based on geography. If virtual discipleship is effective in the uttermost parts, would it not be effective in Jerusalem?
Discipleship happens in its most healthy applications within the context of the local church. Let’s continue to seek out effective means to disciple in the most valuable ways possible.