If you’ve known me longer than a few days you probably have figured out my love for coffee, conversation, Gilmore Girls, and the appreciation of a good monogram. What you may not know is the value of those lovely things have allowed me to form budding relationships with teen girls and women. They seem simple, and truly they are. What’s not simple is all the other life things that come our way. Those tiny ties allow us to build bridges with people to walk them through some not so simple days.
One girl that I’ve had the privilege to walk through some simple and not so simple days is this one right here…
Our relationship was actually built on 6:30 am workouts, a hatred of burpees, Jesus Jam on Fridays before school (lots of homemade Egg McMuffins), and me making her try coffee for the first time.
I’ve had the privilege of Ashton teaching me about Vocalists, Broadway Musicals, and book series. She’s analyzed Scripture in a way that fascinates me (Jesus was eaten by a cloud y’all) and asked deep questions to spur me on in my own studies. Discipleship is living life and doing life together in the simple and not so simple.
Jesus walked and taught in a way our Western minds aren’t used to. He encountered people personally and gave them real life lessons as He literally walked beside them. It wasn’t abstract, some intense concept or a strategy, it was unfolding before their eyes as He taught it. We don’t have the same opportunity as the first disciples but as DISCIPLES of today we have opportunity to receive teaching and training from people who train and equips believers.
For four years our church has been a ministry partner with the Winshape College Discipleship Intensive Program. This partnership is two-fold it supports “ministry leaders to help them effectively invest in and encourage college-aged students to go and make disciples” and “prepares college students to become leaders who make a meaningful impact in their community.” For the last three summers, Ashton has been a part of the Winshape College Discipleship Intensive Program. She’s spent the last three summers not laying out by the pool but studying Biblical Community and Identity in Christ.
She’s been an attendee, a two week intern in 2020, and this year was a summer long intern for the DI Program. In July, she helped coordinate and lead the Discipleship Intensive in Dallas for over 25 college students from various colleges throughout Georgia, Oklahoma, and Texas. This summer, their focus was on Identity in Christ. Ashton led a team of college students to only learn the material but most importantly she trained them to take what they had learned back to their campus and begin small groups this fall.
As I watched Ashton train other college students on how to create meaningful relationships and teach on IDENTITY it was a beautiful picture of growth, investment, and passion. Once again, it seems simple but a lot of not simple days went into this picture of discipleship. And what isn’t pictured is a woman I’ve had the privilege of walking through life with (since she was 14) has also spent the last three summers loving and pouring into Ashton.
All because DISCIPLES make DISCIPLES.
Ashton saw the impact on her life and I have no doubt that this is just the beginning. When we respond to discipleship in the purest form we see how the drops become ripples and can truly make a Kingdom change.