4 Spiritual Food Groups

-Adapted from The Adventure of Discipling Others by Ron Bennett & John Purvis.

When I meet with those I'm discipling, I plan our time around the following four ingredients.

New believers need an environment where they are listened to, taken seriously, understood, and accepted. Each time I meet with someone I'm discipling, I spend some initial time connecting relationally. In the early weeks of meeting together, we may need to spend a large proportion of time in this ingredient. Once we establish a deeper connection, catching up since our last meeting is usually adequate.

Practical Truths
Truths of the Christians life that need to be modeled, taught, and developed form another ingredient of our time together. This usually takes the form of some kind of Bible study. This time in Scripture may be formal or casual, perhaps coming from a published Bible study or from meditating over a passage of Scripture.

Pertinent Issues
This ingredient deals with current life issues. Usually some area of life is broken and not working. Sometimes I make a list of the issues I observe and ask the disciplee to make his own list. This gives us two perspectives on what issues and character qualities to address.

What does the disciplee want to know? Making space for his questions forms the fourth ingredient of our meetings. We often assume that because we've talked about a subject, the people we're discipling get it - but they may not. We need to allow the opportunity for people to raise questions even if we don't have answers.

I don't put in every ingredient each time we meet. But over time, I want to ensure that a balanced diet is reached. Too much time on relationsjip leaves the person starved for truth. Too much time on practical truth leaves the person starved for authentic relationship. Be sensitive to where God is working. Allow God's Spirit to lead you in both planning and adjusting your plan.

- from Discipleship Journal, September/October 2004