Sometimes stepping out onto a path you’ve not travelled before seems too risky. Circumstances can appear to be unfavourable. Timing can be questionable. Uncertainty can paralyze, especially when you are simply not sure how to move forward. But when God burdens your heart with His priorities, how can you NOT take that first step by faith in obedience to Him?
Our local church’s vision is “Everyone a disciple”. My burden became how to engage women to truly grow as Jesus’ disciples and to become disciple-makers themselves. A year ago, God opened the door for me to begin a Discovery Bible study with a friend in Asia who wanted to learn more about my faith and the God of the Bible. Week by week, as we worked our way through biblical passages from Creation to Christ, I saw God working in her heart, mind, and life, drawing her inexorably to Himself. I desperately wanted others to experience the pure joy of this powerful work of God as they intentionally invested in other women’s lives. In June 2020, I took that first step. I approached several women in our church about forming discipleship triads using the Discovery Bible study method. This would be a way to discover or rediscover God, His eternal plan and story, and how our stories fit into His. I wondered if the many COVID restrictions would act as a catalyst or deterrent. With a “little faith”, I asked God to give us five triads to see if, or how, they would work. Instead, God gave us ten groups, thirty women in all, who said yes to discipleship! Some triads met outdoors and others online. Throughout the summer we saw a transformation taking place in the lives of women. We were connecting with God and with each other in a profound way. Within weeks of starting the first triads, several women began a second one with women who were not yet believers. They felt equipped and burdened, wanting to come alongside the women who were part of their networks. In the Fall, nine more triads began with women from the church. A number of men have come on board as well. Several more triads began to get underway in the early months of 2021. A Muslim woman came to saving faith in Jesus and was baptized in December. At present, approximately ten women from Buddhist, Catholic, and non-religious backgrounds, and who are not yet followers of Jesus, are engaged in DBS with women from the church.
I see God’s fingerprints all over this and recognize that not only did the first step require faith, but so did every subsequent one. There are times when I could easily become discouraged. Many women think that this kind of intentional discipleship is not what they need or want. But God has made a number of us increasingly hungry for more. So we continue to plead with the Master of the Harvest to stir more hearts, to cause more women to take that first, risky step of faith toward Him to become true and fervent disciples of Jesus and, in turn, to become disciple-makers of the nations.