Discipleship Analysis: Hands On Ministry
Did you ask someone you care about one of those six analysis questions I shared from last week? This weekend I’m sharing with you answers from one of my girls. McKenna is22 years old, lives in Kauai, HI & Denver, CO; and was assigned to me through a college program a little over 4 years ago. She needed hands-on ministry hours and at the same time, I was praying for a high capacity team-mate, who was responsible but had no job so they could serve a ton. True Story! Haha. God brought McKenna and completely outdid my expectations. Here is her take on those six questions I asked her.
Ladies & Gentlemen, McKenna Myerson:
“Hey everyone, my name is McKenna Myerson.
I am a recent graduate of Portland Bible College where I had the amazing opportunity to be an intern under Stephanie Anderson through Mannahouse Church. She was the children’s pastor at the Downtown campus at that time. The very first day of interns we were to meet with the pastor we were serving under and talk about what they expected of us and learn about the campus and ministry that we would be serving in. It was in this first encounter that I realized I was in for something much more than an internship in Children’s Ministry. Steph brought us coffee and we sat on some comfy couches and took the time to get to know each other. She asked me about my family, my church, my friends/relationship, how I ended up in Portland, and basically everything other than “work/intern” stuff. From my first moments with Steph we were laughing, causing all the nerves of getting to know a new person to simply fall to the side.
Walking into this internship, I had no idea what I was in for. I didn’t know it meant I would have someone disciple me or let me join them in their daily life to learn from them. This is often something that is talked about, but not often followed through on. Discipleship is important because it brings someone along with you and teaches them the things that you have already learned. It gives them a spring board to be able to take your knowledge further. The one being discipled can take your knowledge and build upon it. Discipleship also has a way of bringing value to a person. When they feel like someone sees them and believes in them they are more likely to believe in themselves.
After that first time of hanging out with Steph, we quickly became friends because she would invite me to her house for dinner, to go shopping with her, to go look at houses with her, and gave me an open invite to her home. She invited me around when she had her son with her and when she was with her husband. She opened her life to me and wanted me to be apart of more than just her Children’s Ministry job. It was in the car conversations and the late night, after her kids had gone to bed conversations that really allowed her to speak wisdom and truth into my life. I was also able to see how she parented and how she was as a wife and how to balance a family with a ministry. Although that might sound scary, to have someone as a spectator in your life, it wasn’t only the perfect, happy moments that I learned from. It was also the moments where things weren’t perfect and her kid wasn’t listening or her and her husband weren’t agreeing that I saw how to handle the hard things that life throws at us all. It’s easy to open your life in the areas that are polished, but that isn’t the full reality. How are people to learn how to handle conflict when they never get to see a healthy resolve?
My friendship with Steph also made me a better intern because I wanted to lighten her burden in any way that I could. I felt a personal connection to her and my work reflected that. I knew she cared about me as a person outside of my internship and because of that I wanted to give her my best. I was her “go to person” and I wanted to live in a way to live up to that.
Even though we had a friendship,I was still an intern and we had set times of meeting. We would meet every Monday and Tuesday afternoon as well as serve in Children’s Ministry every Sunday. When I would come in on Monday’s she would always have a list of tasks that were expected of me, anything from cutting something out for a craft to re-working the next months lessons to be more functional. We would also recap how Sunday service went and talk about what went well and how we could do better. Those consistent meetings where crucial because they were where we would work together side by side as well as were a consistent time where Steph would ask me how I was doing and keep me accountable for things that I said I was going to work on. Having weekly time together became something that I could count on. It motivated me to work hard and have things to report back to her when we met the next time.
On the flip side of that, some of my favorite memories with Steph were the times I would randomly come over to her house for dinner or when she took me out to get cupcakes because she knew I loved them. The one that stands out to me the most is when my relationship of four years ended, Steph was one of the first people I called and without a moment of hesitation she invited me over for coffee and a hug. She sat with me while I cried about it and encouraged me that God’s plans for me were good. The spontaneous moments made the planned moments more meaningful. They were either a time of laughing or a time of crying, but they were always a time where wisdom was shared and the friendship was deepened.
Our relationship has always been very much a friendship, but it has also been very much a mentor/mentee relationship. The two are not exclusive, but can actually be used to bring a deeper meaning to both friendship and discipleship. Often times a mentor/mentee relationship can have traces of weirdness or uncomfortable awkwardness. My relationship with Steph was never weird because we had clear communication. When expectations are clearly stated and frustrations are talked about, the weirdness and uncomfortably melts away. If something needs to be said, just say it and don’t let it be weirdness that comes between you. Another way weirdness can be avoided in discipleship is to not talk down to the one being discipled or talk to them with a “pastor voice,” this makes the person feel as if they are a project or something that you can check off at the end of the day rather than a person who matters.
I could write for days the way that being discipled by Steph changed my life, but I’ll leave you with this: discipleship is caring for someone and believing in them. When you believe in what you are doing, you are not shy to give it your heart. Steph believed in me and had me do things I never thought I would be able to do. She helped me grow in my leadership skills and my team building skills, but even more than that she taught me how to disciple others by how she discipled me. Her example didn’t stop with me, but is able to continue as I disciple others. It isn’t about you having it all together and knowing everything, it’s about bringing someone along with you as you figure it out so that they can see the struggle as well as the solution.
Love you, Steph! Thank you for loving meand bringing me along with you <3”
Did you catch all of the practical wisdom in this letter of McKenna? Join me next week for another post from one of my girls and share this post with a friend or leader looking for ways to disciple well.