How do we make true disciples of Jesus?
Is sharing knowledge about Jesus at a monthly or annual meeting enough to help students be like Jesus? I think we would all say ‘no’!
The student who becomes like Jesus does so through discipleship. Discipleship is not merely the transmission of knowledge, but implies a new lifestyle, a new character and a new way of life.
In order to help students become like Jesus, GEU Guatemala feels it is essential to use or create a curriculum. We use a training plan with five modules, which moves from the basics to a deeper understanding of faith and mission.
We do not eliminate the richness of a spontaneous conversation and intimate times of prayer. But these are strengthened when accompanied by a systematic and creative training plan, which is motivating to students and staff workers alike.
Discipleship allows the students to discover that they don’t want only to learn about Jesus, they want to be like Jesus. And so they come to own this new lifestyle, and this triggers interest and joy in discipleship.
We have seen this in GEU Guatemala time and again: the faces of students who show interest and joy for discipleship. We see them sitting on benches and on the grass, for one hour or sometimes three hours, asking difficult questions regarding a biblical text, framed within the ordinary happenings of a day at university. And the answers to their questions become the greatest affirmations that give ultimate meaning to reality.
Such faces have names, like Gaby. Gaby studies Humanities and comes from the village of Antigua Guatemala. She writes: ‘I come to the university on Wednesdays exclusively for discipleship training, because it is so good for me.’
Another of these faces is Julia, who is always on time for her discipleship training. Sometimes she waits for over three hours, because she lives so far away and cannot just go home. and get back to the university on time. So she makes the most of these hours by reading what we have been studying. When it’s discipleship time she has more questions, but more importantly she has found even more answers.
We have also seen how Catherine, an engineering student has been sensitive and honest in facing both the truth and the consequences of what she learns at each weekly lesson.
These and other students have discovered how amazing it is to speak about the Scripture, and ask the questions that voice their biggest fears and desires. They have discovered that personal discipleship is more than making it to a weekly meeting with an imperfect staff worker. It involves meeting with the perfect builder and counsellor in university life: Jesus.
We hope for discipleship that isn’t a task imposed by others, just some training to tick a box and say ‘completed’ or a long and boring chore. Instead, we hope it will be a sincere and simple initiative developed by a student before a Jesus who disciples.
Pray that more faces show true joy as they appropriate a new and intentional lifestyle that blossoms within the GEU local groups through those who are discipled in a personal and consistent way.