Fathering Discipleship gives freedom, without placing expectations.
The Great Commission instructs us “to make disciples.” (Matt.28:19) This is a skill many have struggled to develop well. As I’ve sought to grow in Fathering Discipleship I found an important key — I have to let go of my expectations.
Think of what it means to let go of expectations when it comes to fathering/mothering our own children.
We teach our children values and consequences. We seek to identify and call out their natural strengths. However, if we demand they embrace a certain hobby or career, we impede their autonomy and diminish intimacy between us.
I believe a primary characteristic of fathering/mothering others is expressing “covering love” toward the weaknesses, shortcomings, and growth process of others. (1 Pet.4:8, Rm.15:1)
Here’s a key example. You’ve overcome or become successful in an area of your life, say leading a Bible study. A younger believer you’re discipling is starting his first Bible study. He’s super excited but “doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.” You, because of your experience, easily see mistakes he’s already making. You seek to father him, gently giving input in an encouraging way. Your disciple listens a little but is fairly set in the many ideas he already has and chooses not to adhere to any of your suggestions or advice.
So here’s the Key: at this point you cover in love. You let go of expectations that your disciple will listen to your experience and learn the lessons you try to teach him. Keep loving him anyway. This is the key. You’re there to pick him up when he falls and never say, “I told you so.” You simply cover him in love. You keep giving input as he’s open to it.
People have free will. Allow them to use it. Let go of any expectations. Ultimately everyone has to find their own way forward in life. (Gal.6:5)
The Body of Christ is so in need of an army of fathering/mothering leaders to disciple the next generation. Leaders who will give freedom to their disciples to grow and learn yet cover and protect them in love.
Will you step out and learn the skills of Fathering Discipleship? Generations are waiting.