The Bible is full of insights about how discipleship is like raising children. One excellent example is how the apostle Paul constantly refers to his young disciple, Timothy, as his son.

This analogy has limitations. Like I change Philip’s diapers, spank him when he’s disobedient, and spoon feed him. But all of those behaviors would be inappropriate in a discipleship relationship.

So how is discipleship like parenting?

1. INTENTION

My intentions for Philip are for him to be the best he can be. He wasn’t born to make me look better as a father or as a man. Instead, I want to be the best father I can be in order to help Philip be the best baby, boy, and man that he can be.

In the same way, the people we disciple are in our groups so that we can help them be who God called them to be. They aren’t there to make us feel better as Christians or as trophies of our Christian devotion.

2. SACRIFICE

Someone said to me when Philip was born, “You’re never going to have the same amount of sleep again. But you’ll realize that you don’t need it as much.” I’ve found that statement to be more true with everyday, and not just with sleep. With Philip around, there’s not as much time for sleeping, video games, movies, or whatever things I spent time on before. But I also realize, I don’t need all those things.

Same thing goes for discipleship. When you start discipling someone, there are a lot of things you will have to sacrifice. But you will also realize, you don’t need those things as much as you thought you did.

3. MATURITY

Having Philip has been one of the single most maturing experiences for Carla and me. This is mostly because it exposed so much immaturity that we could ignore when he wasn’t around.

In the same way, discipling someone else brings you to maturity, because it reveals issues in yourself that you need to work on, in order to better serve those you are discipling.

4. SATISFACTION

Lastly, Discipleship is like Parenting in the satisfaction it brings. There is no joy like the joy of seeing someone you’ve served and sacrificed for growing up and walking in their purpose.