Discipling someone is not always easy. There is no one-size-fits-all discipleship strategy. Some people are, for lack of a better term, easier to disciple because they are readily available to meet up and go through discipleship. Then there are times where it seems harder to disciple others because they don’t reply, they keep saying that they are busy, or they don’t seem interested at all.

If you can relate to this situation, you might be asking yourself, is it time to let them go? This article doesn’t aim to give “Yes” or “No” answers. Rather, we hope that you will thoughtfully consider the following questions as you make your decision.

Have I gone the extra mile?

Some of us might have the tendency to see things through only our own perspective and fail to see the whole picture. There are many possible reasons why people do not reply or want to meet up. Some may be going through family or personal problems that overwhelm them. Some may be offended. Others may not yet see the importance of discipleship. But how can we know what the problem is unless they open up?

I think a good question to ask ourselves is, have I done everything to the best of my ability to reach out to and disciple this person? Discipleship requires sacrifice and perseverance.  We can go the extra mile and continue to remind them that we’re still there for them even if they don’t respond. When they see that you’re still willing to keep the relationship, it could make them realize that you truly care about them and won’t give up at the first signs of difficulty.

Am I praying for this person?

Prayer is powerful. Sometimes we underestimate what prayer can do because we are too focused on solving things through our own strength. When was the last time we just spent time praying for the people we’re discipling, especially those who haven’t been showing up or responding?

Most of the time, it is during those times of prayer that God gives us wisdom and leads us to what we need to do. There are even times when the Holy Spirit will prompt us to send a message to people we haven’t spoken to in a long time. Prayer aligns our hearts to God’s heart for others. It causes us to be moved by compassion, which allows us to keep on persevering.

Do I trust in God and not my own ability?

What if your efforts don’t seem to be working? What if they no longer listen to you, and always say they are busy? Or what if they just no longer seem interested?

Discipleship also takes humility to admit that we cannot do it all. There will be times when we will need to ask God and our mentors if we are still the best person to disciple someone. It doesn’t mean that we are giving up on them, only that we have their best interests in mind. Nevertheless, we exhaust all means. We can connect them to others who will be better equipped to disciple them, or find ways to connect them to where they will grow more. It says in 1 Corinthians 3:6,7:

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.

When this happens, all we can do is put our trust in God and not on our own ability. He is sovereign and knows the time and the seasons. There will be people who will be in our lives for only a short season and others longer. He is still the one who causes the growth whether it be through us or through others.

When should we let go of someone we’re discipling? There is no one answer or list of qualifications. Maybe the better question to ask is, have I given my best in discipling this person? With that, we can be assured that when we let go, we know that God is still in control over the lives of the people we disciple and not because we are giving up on them.

Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Ultimately it is God we are serving. We make disciples for His glory. We don’t give up even when it gets hard, because it is God who will give us strength, and our security is in Him.

Discipleship is not always easy, but it is a privilege – a privilege to be used by God to reach out to others and see Him work in their lives, even if they will be in our lives only for a season.