Want A Sandwich? Since becoming more intentional in making disciples that make disciples, God has blessed me with twelve guys to do life with one-on-one. He has also blessed my wife and me with two different couples that we have worked with together couple-to-couple. Two of the twelve guys share the same name…Ben. Here is a snapshot of my journey with each of them. I’ll call them Ben A and Ben B.
Sam Newman and Ben A
I met Ben A one year ago in our New Beginnings Class. We offer the class once a month in a half-day format with a light breakfast, building tour, four Discovery sessions and lunch with the senior staff and our families along with Q&A. It’s for new members but also for anyone who just wants to know more about us. I only take eight at a time so it gives me a chance to get to know their stories and then meet with each of them one-on-one at some point following the class to help them connect to Christ, the church, a ministry that matches their giftedness and engage them in our disciple-making process. We have a variety of folks from different backgrounds and at different levels of their spiritual journey.
During the class I learned that Ben A was an EKU student who had grown up Catholic. After class I took the opportunity to set up a time to get to know him better. So I asked him, “Ben, want to get together and grab a sandwich?” He said sure! I took Jonah, our college ministry intern in partnership with the EKU BCM, with me. I have learned an important part of disciple-making with another person is to always take someone with you in ministry when you can.
As we got to know one another, I learned that Ben A had been struggling and had gotten involved in the college party scene. He knew he needed help, and so he just decided to come to New Beginnings and get a fresh start. It also became clear to me that Ben A did not have a daily walk with the Lord and so I asked Jonah to share his God story while we ate. As I was dropping Ben off on campus I asked him, “Ben, would you like another sandwich next week?” He said, “sure!”
So, we met at a park shelter near the campus and this time I shared my God story along with some scriptures. The Holy Spirit was clearly present, and Ben prayed and asked Christ into his life. I had the opportunity to baptize him and connected him to our T2:12 College ministry and to our EKU BCM ministry. We have been meeting together once per week at the park, hiking etc. for over a year now.
With the Bible as our core curriculum, I also intentionally used the reproducible tools by Billy Hanks from the International Evangelism Association. I have done that so when we were finished he would be able to go and begin disciple-making with his own Timothy for the rest of his life. I let him know that I was very willing to invest this time with him if he would agree at the end to go and do the same. We took our time realizing that this was not a sprint but a marathon of life-on-life together. We worked on the spiritual disciplines of:
- A Daily Quiet Time,
- Daily Prayer,
- Sermon and Bible Study Note-Taking,
- Scripture Memory, and
- Natural Lifestyle Evangelism.
I have grown to understand that more is caught than taught. After completing our life-on-life training, Ben’s life has dramatically changed. He came each week to my Thursday night disciple-making class that I offer at the Tates Creek Baptist Association for any of our associational church leaders. After week four of our training, the disciple makers in my class are encouraged to engage between group sessions with their Timothy one-on-one, and then we share about how it’s going during the eight remaining group sessions. They then continue on disciple-making with their Timothy after our group sessions end.
Ben A began disciple-making with his younger sister during this phase of my time with him. I just met with him and had another sandwich right before I started writing this blog post to give him some encouragement and some additional resources. He and his sister are already finishing the first phase of her training and they are doing great!
In a one-year timespan, Ben A has gone from lost to a disciple that makes disciples! He has a consistent daily quiet time and is continuing to develop his spiritual disciplines. He is attending Bible study and bringing his new girlfriend to worship. A couple of months ago his own dad has started coming to Bible study and worship too! Ben A has moved to a much better location–away from the temptations he had faced before. He is preparing to graduate this next Spring and continue on with work on his Masters degree as he prepares to enter the workforce. He is committed to an ongoing lifestyle of being a disciple that makes disciples. Praise God!
Next time, Sam will share about the disciple-making journey with Ben B.
Sam Newman serves as Minister of Education & Discipleship at First Baptist Church, Richmond, Kentucky.