Discipleship Scorecard: F.A.I.T.H
Written by Adam Venters, BCM Director at University of South Carolina
In the past, I engaged in a leadership training seminar focused on personal and leadership development, led by Tim Lafluer, a former campus minister and pastor. Tim’s remarkable leadership, often overshadowed by those unfamiliar with him, is distinguished by his visual impairment. Despite losing his vision, Tim, an exceptional leader and mentor, played a pivotal role in disciplining and deploying leaders and disciples throughout the majority of his ministry career. He is a dedicated warrior in prayer and scripture memorization.
During the seminar, I queried Tim about the qualities one should seek in oneself and others for effective discipleship. In response, he introduced a straightforward acronym derived from 2 Timothy 2:2.
The scripture emphasizes the importance of entrusting reliable individuals with teachings, who, in turn, will be qualified to teach others: “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” Tim encapsulated these qualities in the acronym F.A.I.T.H., asserting, “You need to be and develop people of F.A.I.T.H. – Faithful, Available, Intentional, Teachable, and have a heart after God.” This, he contended, is the ultimate goal of discipleship: F.A.I.T.H.
Let’s delve further into the F.A.I.T.H. Person.
This individual consistently arrives prepared and eager to engage. Often, what hinders individuals from encountering God’s blessings or finding contentment with their current life situation and choices is the commitment to being present where they ought to be, precisely when they should be there.
Questions to ask:
- Do you feel a sense of peace about your commitments in your day, week, month, and year?
- Is there a discipline of God that you need to add to your calendar?
- Is there anything you need to remove?
I’ve come across the estimation by psychologists that the average person makes approximately 35,000 decisions daily. Take a moment to absorb that information. Assuming standard sleep patterns of 7 to 8 hours, this translates to roughly 2,000 decisions per hour. Considering this, what does it mean for a disciple to be available?
Essentially, being available as a disciple involves scheduling dedicated time for discipleship amidst the daily rhythm and routine of life. Discipleship operates in a continuous, “as you are going” manner. Matthew 28:19 instructs, “Go, therefore, and make disciples.” Scholars often highlight that the “make disciples” aspect of this verse isn’t a structured program or a ten-step plan. It is about being a person who invests in others for the glory of God. However, for a disciple, it requires both availability and humility. This entails making time in your schedule and being humble enough to admit to someone older that you may not know all that God requires of you, and that they can teach you and assist you in becoming more like Jesus.
Questions to ask:
- Are your days, weeks, months, and years dedicated to the things of God, or is your schedule filled with personal interests?
- Is there something you need to be more available to do? Or do you need to focus on things you’ve already committed to?
Have you encountered individuals who appear to be taking on an excessive amount—involved in numerous clubs, countless extracurricular activities, and burdened by an overwhelming array of time commitments? Such a person is often colloquially described as being “an inch deep and a mile wide.” As followers of Christ, there are two principles that can guide us away from living lives characterized by this phrase.
Firstly, we prioritize fearing God over the fear of missing out on every opportunity presented to us. Secondly, we surrender the setting of priorities in our days, months, and years to God. A well-known proverb in the Bible emphasizes, “Where there is no vision, people perish.” Therefore, the disciple’s aim is to possess a God-given vision for their life by allowing God to structure and establish their days, weeks, months, and years. By being intentional, disciples permit God’s priorities to guide and shape their daily decisions.
Another crucial trait is possessing a teachable spirit. Several years ago, I attended a conference at a church in Washington D.C. To kick off the conference, we formed small groups around the room to share information about ourselves, our purpose for attending, and what we believed we were excelling at in our ministries.
I joined a group of younger individuals, along with an older gentleman who stood out due to his gray hair and balding appearance. The rest of us were likely in our twenties, creating a noticeable age difference. As we went around sharing information, each time a person discussed their strengths, the older man in our group posed numerous questions. Although it seemed like he was placing us in the role of experts, he was genuinely interested in our successes and keen on learning from us.
After the session concluded, the keynote speaker for the next session took the stage. Much to my surprise and that of everyone else in the group, we discovered that the keynote speaker was the older gentleman from our group. He commended us all as heroes for our achievements, yet he, in his own right, had authored numerous books, served as a dynamic leader, and had already accomplished what all of us in the room were aspiring to achieve.
This experience taught me that one of the most valuable attributes of a disciple and leader is being teachable. As disciples, we must embrace a spirit of humility, acknowledging that we don’t have everything figured out. Others can be placed in our path and in our lives to help us become more like Christ.
Questions to ask:
- What does being “teachable” mean to you, and why do you think it is an important quality to cultivate in personal and professional development?
- In your opinion, what role does humility play in being teachable? How can individuals balance a sense of confidence with a willingness to learn from others?
Heart after God:
The concluding aspect of being a disciple involves having a heart devoted to God. While many of the preceding insights relate to time management, learning, and practical advice, this final one centers on a heart posture rather than a mindset or actions. It pertains to the attitude and openness of the heart.
No person is flawless, and no plan is without imperfections. Embracing a heart after God doesn’t guarantee an easier life, even with a discipler in your life. Nevertheless, time and time again, God utilizes our experiences and the people around us to reshape the trajectory of our lives. There is no substitute for cultivating a heart that genuinely seeks after God.
Questions to ask:
- In what ways do you currently express your love and devotion to God in your daily life? Are there specific practices or habits that you find particularly meaningful in nurturing your relationship with Him?
- What challenges or distractions hinder your ability to maintain a consistent “heart for God”? How can you address or overcome these obstacles to strengthen your spiritual connection?
These questions are designed to prompt reflection and introspection on the qualities and attitudes necessary for discipleship and spiritual growth.