I was recently hiking with my wife. It was not a difficult hike by any means, but as we were going along she said, “I prefer to follow you.” The reason was she felt more comfortable just following my footsteps rather than having to watch ahead and watch each step. It is a simple thing, but it got me thinking along another line – good discipleship is a lot like hiking.
If you can follow someone, especially someone familiar with the path, it’s easier to learn and enjoy the adventure. Here are some things a good guide will do:
- Point out obstacles
- Find the easier, but still challenging, path
- Look ahead and alert you when to stop and take in the spectacular view
- Remind you when to stop for a drink and refresh
Where this analogy breaks down is life is a new path everyday. Therefore, you cannot just put it on autopilot as a leader. What helps the leader still lead, even when they’ve never been here before, is experience.
Good discipleship is sharing your experience. Which means this is not an age thing, but an experience thing. It also means we learn from each other as we go – we can all benefit from our different experiences.
One final observation – only one Leader has already seen where you are headed (it’s not new to Him) – Jesus. If we really want to learn from the best, then it would make sense to follow the One who knows, and has already seen, it all. This is why the Apostle Paul can say, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”
As we each follow Christ, and each other, we will all learn and grow together. That is what I believe good discipleship looks like. Life on life, day by day.
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