When I began discipling Vlad, I had a clear sense of what I wanted to pass on to him. I did not, however, have a clear picture of how I would know when this process was complete.
Vlad and I met regularly for three years. During our last year, we lost momentum. Vlad was grounded in his faith—and now I wasn’t sure what to do next. Somewhat awkwardly, I affirmed our friendship and suggested he consider meeting with a younger believer himself. Vlad agreed, but this conversation probably came a year too late.
If we don’t think ahead about the end of our discipling relationships, we may merely drift out of them instead of helping people move on with enthusiasm. Such an ending doesn’t empower people to embrace what God has next for them. Instead, it models passivity—exactly the opposite of what we want to reproduce.
As you think about how you’re going to disciple someone, consider what kind of time commitment you’re both willing to make and how long your study will take. Talk about these things up front and have a plan for the end. When we end a discipling relationship by looking to the future, it feels not so much like the end of one chapter as the beginning of another.