Dr. Steven Hake is the Chairman of the Department of Classical Liberal Arts and one of the Literature Professors. Recently, he has been encouraging students to grow in discipleship and personal evangelism. Read his essay below on the importance of discipleship!
At the end of my sabbatical a few years back, which coincided with turning sixty, I found myself thinking, “This is my last lap. Long or short, it’s the last one. What’s it going to look like?”
I realized that I can no longer count on being able to do several things, much less everything. If I can only manage to do one thing with the time I have left, what’ll it be? Very focusing!
As I thought about this, and read some things that helped me to make sense of it, I realized that I had never been discipled, and that was a huge gap.
My dad was a good man, but discipling me was definitely not on his agenda. As a new Christian at Colby College, I began reading Lewis and Schaeffer and John Stott and …. But there was no one to disciple me.
Jesus didn’t give the Twelve a copy of the New Testament and say, “Here, read this.” He gave them Himself, and then they wrote the New Testament.
Pretty dramatic proof of the effectiveness of discipling. When I first joined a church as a college student, the pastor introduced me to many theological classics and patiently answered my many questions. This was a huge blessing, but it still was much less than what Jesus did for the Twelve.
I began to think more and more that if I could only do one thing in my last time around the track, I thought that I would most like to be part of something quietly multiplying.
At that time I heard that the Navigators were interested in a ministry at PHC. I contacted them and told them I’d love to be involved, but I had never been discipled myself.
“Would one of you be willing to work with me?” A retired Texas Instruments engineer who’d been making disciples for many decades said, “Yes, if you’ll have me!” We’ve since become very good friends and he taught me a great deal. He came beside me and poured into me. It was, and is, wonderful.
I also approached our dean of men, Jeff Thornhill. He’s a bit younger than I am, but has disciples all over the world. I asked him if he would disciple me, and he said he’d be happy to. We have also become very good friends, share everything, pray for each other, and get together regularly—a huge blessing!
I also sent around an email to PHC faculty and staff, HSLDA staff, and several area pastors asking if they would be interested in discipling PHC students. I got a very encouraging response. I also began asking PHC students if they would like to be discipled. A number said yes.
I began to pray specifically for “a culture of discipleship, disciple making, and outreach” at PHC. I am seeing God answer that prayer in some pretty dramatic ways.
We have a lot of Pauls and a lot of Timothies (of both genders) in this community, and more and more of them are finding each other. We have a few veteran disciple makers and many eager beginners (like myself). But the beginners are growing! PHC students being discipled are finding it very helpful and some are beginning to disciple others.
Those of you reading this, have YOU ever been discipled? No one is too young or too old. Ask God for someone. He will surprise you! And are you making disciples? It’s Christ’s clear command to all of us.
If you are in a position to help us disciple current PHC undergrads, please contact me. If you have any questions or thoughts about any of this, please contact me. And finally, I invite (urge!) you to pray with me (earnestly!) for “a culture of discipleship, disciple making, and outreach” at PHC.
This is something we as a college have always believed in. It is very exciting to me to see it begin to actually happen in a deeper way.