Weekly Hobbies Lead to Meaningful Friendship
Nearly two years ago, I chose several hobbies that allowed me to interact regularly with unbelievers and build friendships that could lead to disciple-making opportunities. I started attending pick-up volleyball at my local recreation center, a martial arts gym, and a board game community every week.
At the martial arts gym, I met Zach. Over the ensuing months, we trained together every week and built a friendship. A few times, I invited him to lunch or a walk to hear his story. I learned that Zach came from a Christian background, but has since left that behind to dabble in Buddhism and New Age thinking and joined the LGBTQ community.
Eventually, the onset of the pandemic prevented us from attending our martial arts gym. Though Zach and I stayed in touch, I sought a way to stay in touch with him. One day, during an online chat, he mentioned wanting to learn guitar and I offered to give him lessons!
We began meeting every week over Zoom for guitar lessons. During and after every lesson, we caught up on each other's lives. We were there for one another during the ups and downs of life and the lockdown.
Raising Prayer for Zach
While I enjoyed our friendship, our conversations did not progress beyond meaningful to spiritual and discovery conversations (sharing stories from Scripture).
If there's one thing I know about disciple-making, it's that success is predicated on prayer—and lots of it. Consequently, I mobilized prayer for Zach in multiple ways. During CDM Prayer Meetings and Disciple-Making Community meetings, I would ask for prayer that the Holy Spirit would guide my conversations with Zach. I also posted regularly on the CDM Facebook Prayer Page and my own personal prayer page.
Even when I became discouraged at the lack of progress, prayers from my communities encouraged me to press onward and take next steps
A Discovery Conversation After A Guitar Lesson
Then after our regular guitar lesson last week, Zach and I were catching up. Zach said he was feeling down lately, leading to a conversation about self-care. I paused a moment to ask the Holy Spirit to guide my words and actions. "What kind of things lift your spirits and re-energize you?" I asked. His response took us right into spirituality..
"I love going on walks and meditating outdoors because I feel like nature puts me in touch with the divine," Zach mused. "I feel like there's a little piece of God inside of everyone."
My heart leapt—I had been praying for a moment like this for months! I knew God was presenting me with an opportunity to connect where Zach was at with God's story. "You know," I told him, "what you just said reminds me of a favorite Bible passage of mine. In Genesis it says that after God created the world, He specially made humans in His image."
"That's awesome!" Zach replied. We kept talking and eventually I said, "Something I love to do is open the Bible with others to discover what it says about our lives and about God. Would you be interested in doing that?"
Zach didn't even hesitate—"Definitely!"
We are scheduled to begin the Creation to Christ Scripture list and read Genesis 1 after our guitar lesson this week! Thank you so much for your continued prayers, and to God be the glory!
We can glean quite a few disciple-making principles from this story. First, consistent interaction with unbelievers is key for building relationships that lead to disciple-making. Boxing twice a week and eventually guitar lessons were the perfect outlets for Rob and Zach to bond in a meaningful way. And it takes time—Rob grew his friendship with Zach for nearly two years before he found this opportunity to invite him to DBS. Second, a large amount of prayer is absolutely necessary to see any lasting fruit when making disciples. Rob would not have seen any success without God's provision working through the faithful prayers of a community of everyday disciple-makers. Third, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into conversations that help you link their stories with God's story. Whenever Rob went into interactions with Zach unprepared in regards to prayer or sensitivity to the Spirit, he didn't get anywhere. God is the one who draws hearts to Himself. Our job is to see where the Spirit is already moving and join Him there.
What kind of conversations lead to disciple-making?
Disciple-making conversations are about inviting unbelievers to discover God in the Bible, not inviting them to church. It's about listening to people so you don't give them a cookie-cutter pitch. It's about long-term relationships, not one-time interactions. Listen to the podcast here.