I am assuming you are reading this article because you love Jesus and have a desire to make His Name known. I do, too! Over the years, I have had the privilege of leading 6th-12th grade girls in ministry. Throughout this time, shepherding young women toward the heart of God has been the outcry of my heart. I desire for young girls to know and fall in love with Jesus, confidently walk in their identity as a daughter of God, and feel equipped to love and point others to this same truth.
Below are six tips for authentic discipleship with young women:
1. Discipleship happens when you trust God fully with His daughter.
Someone once taught me in ministry the importance of recognizing my role in discipleship. I am no one’s Savior and it is not my job to bear all the burdens Jesus is meant to carry. I regularly do three things with girls I meet with:
- Ask God, “Lord, how are you discipling ___________ today? How can I join you in that? What are you asking me to share with her?” This positions my heart to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and whatever/however He is trying to work in her life.
- When girls are sharing heavy burdens with me, I allow God into those moments with this simple prayer to Him: “God, I place the cross of Christ between me and ________ right now.” This simple acknowledgement and confession to Jesus allows me to release the weight of these heavy burdens and reminds me to let God rightfully take it.
- Let girls know from the beginning that I am not Jesus and I will not be Jesus at any point in our relationship. I work to keep healthy boundaries. I try to discern when it’s wise to answer a late-night phone call or wait until the next day to respond. I am always pointing my girls to Jesus for their ultimate answers.
2. Discipleship happens when girls are known.
In order to really walk with a student through seasons and stages of life, it is key that they be authentic and truly known. I have found there is no better tool than to become a great question-asker and listener. Learn about the girl’s life, her family, her hurts and pains, insecurities, areas of strength, and ways you see God has naturally wired her. This will help you as you continue to invest in her as the relationship grows.
3. Discipleship happens when girls are taught how and why to study the Scriptures and spend time with God regularly.
Scripture and conversations regarding the Lord are huge in discipleship. It is so important to share with students both how to read Scripture and why it is essential to our relationship with Christ. There is nothing sweeter than teaching and walking someone through Scripture. Helping girls develop the discipline of creating their own space and time for this daily practice is huge. A few suggestions:
- ESV Scripture journals have been a great tool in walking with girls through Scripture.
- Regularly check in on how time with the Lord has been. I ask girls weekly where they have been in Scripture and what God is teaching them.
4. Discipleship happens when girls are taught to pray.
Prayer should play an essential part of discipleship. It should not be assumed that girls know how to pray or that prayer is modeled at home. Teach them to pray by modeling it with them and letting them into your prayer life. Pray together. Let them know you are praying for them throughout the week. Have them pray for you and be authentic in what you need prayer for.
5. Discipleship happens when girls are challenged to be Christ-minded leaders in their homes and areas of influence.
Not only should girls be learning how to read through Scripture and pray, but they also need to be challenged in areas of influence in their lives: at home, in their schools, and in their activities. Kids love being challenged. I am regularly inspiring students to love their families in different areas, encouraging them through friendship and relationship challenges, and pointing them to lead for Christ in their passions.
6. Discipleship happens when girls see your real life.
It’s great for a girl to see me sitting at a coffee shop reading Scripture and praying with them, but that is only part of my walk with Christ. Allowing girls to see the full picture includes parts you maybe wouldn’t broadcast to the world: hardship, family life, and even just days where walking with Jesus is hard. With healthy boundaries, allow girls to see your life. They are watching you at all times. How you interact on social media, how you talk to the person at the checkout counter, and how you respond to the trials you face. This is shepherding them in how to walk with God in every area of their life.