Reproducing World-Changing Women
Since I met God, I have been giving God away to women in my life.
I was trained and first discipled on my college campus at the University of Arkansas by Michelle Bost through Cru. We sat at her feet, quite literally, in her small living room, and she force-fed “Master Plan of Evangelism” down ten sorority girls.
We cared about God and people, but she made us care more. I didn’t grow up with a vision of discipleship. I learned it this way: I watched her, and I saw need.
Women were hungry in their souls, and before too long, I had a lot of God to give—so I gave Him away. Today there are many women around the country giving Him away to others, just like Michelle did to me.
We are dealing with a new type of passionate woman, and here is what I believe this new generation is longing for as we invest in their lives.
They would rather you be a wreck and honest than polished and plastic feeling. Be a broken sinner who needs the gospel every day and they will forgive you and like you better for it (and consequently learn much about confession, grace, forgiveness, and God’s love).
Don’t give feel-good, shallow theology. They want to know God and every dimension of Him—not just the things about Him that go down easily. They want to wrestle with the hard stuff about suffering and injustice too. Don’t hide God from them. Don’t water Him down. Don’t have all the answers. Do go deep.
Even though sometimes they act like they don’t need help, this generation actually wants a deep connection with the generation before. They want mentors, even if they are questioning the way the generation before them has done things. They still long for you to pour into them. Don’t let their passion for different things push you away. Letting them connect with an adult is one of the best things you can do to help them in college and prepare them for life after college. You have a ton to offer. They need you.
College students are interesting creatures. They do some crazy things (didn’t we?). They really want to be challenged to live for something bigger than themselves. They want their lives to count. They actually believe the verses that say, “Die to yourself… to this life,” and they’re willing to do it. Give them a God worth dying for and point them toward His mission on this earth, and they will flat sell out to Him. Give ’em a high bar and they will rise to it. Try it.
Let them change the world. Don’t hold them back. Empower them. Believe in them. Pour into them. Care about the things they care about. Many are okay with living uncomfortable lives for the sake of others. They want orphans to become theirs. They want unreached tribes and neighbors to know Jesus. They are okay with smaller houses so they can have a bigger impact. Will you challenge them and encourage them to go for it? There has always been a lack of world-changers for Jesus. Students are all going somewhere. Will you point them to seek His kingdom first and change their world? You are in the bestposition to do so.
They actually are starting to get their heads around the gospel—who Jesus was and is and what He desires for them. That’s why they want all of the above. He is wrecking them for the ordinary. It isn’t a list of dos and don’ts that they obey; it is a person who gave everything for them and they would do anything for. Help them to see He is all. Their highest meaning, purpose, mission, and love is a person. Be awed by Jesus. Awe them with Jesus.
So, Practically, What Does It Look Like?
Christi was a sophomore at the University of Texas, and she had a vision. She wanted to start a Bible study in her sorority.
Somehow, while we were in the parking lot of a La Madeleine’s, Christi rapid-fired her deepest dreams and desires. Soon she was a regular part of our lives. My heart beat for her.
I knew she was a leader, and I knew investing in her life would mean I was investing in many lives to come through her. Recently I asked her to answer some questions: “What worked about our relationship? What did you need from me, and what meant the most?” Here are her answers:
- You loved me. You just loved me. No questions asked, you didn’t know my middle name or my favorite candy, but you loved me. You gave the kind of love that people give away because they just love Jesus.
- You loved the people I loved. You came alongside me in my ministry and loved the girls I loved. You poured into me so I could better pour into them. And then you poured into them too. You always asked about my ministry to others and encouraged me in the work I was doing.
- You asked me tough questions. I knew that time with you would not start off with small talk. Without reservation, you questioned my heart, my time in the Word, my time spent pursuing people, and how I was seeking Jesus. It mattered to me that you cared.
- You encouraged me. You pushed me in the ministry to go for what my heart beat for, and you brought out Jesus in me. You always encouraged and spoke life into my dreams. You saw my gifts and walked beside me in dreaming big dreams for my life. You would believe truth for me until I believed it for myself; you saw bigger, better things in me than I could see.
- You let your life bleed over into mine and let mine bleed into yours. I was not a project or a compartment of your life. You shared it all freely. I remember one Easter. I couldn’t go home, and you invited me to dinner in your home. Others were there. We gathered around folding tables and chairs, eating together because of Jesus. I felt like part of your family.
You can imagine what her answers meant to me. But nothing was said about the formal teaching I gave her; nothing was said about any specific brilliant advice.
You want to pour into women: it is simple.
Love her. Inspire her. Train her. Believe in her.
We have a generation of world changers on our hands. We get to be part of launching them into the world to change it. We should get after that.
What an honor.
Questions for Discussion
Is there anything else you would add to the list? Why?
What would your disciples say about you? Why?
Which one of the qualities is a strength for you? An area of growth?
What is one takeaway you will start incorporating this week in your discipleship?
Can these principles be applied to men? How would you need to adjust them?
Jennie Allen is a Bible Teacher for Austin Stone Community Church.