Discipleship In The Eyes of a Family
Editors' Note: The Goal for this Interview is to paint a picture of what true discipleship looks like between a college age student and a family. I have received plenty of requests from college students expressing their desire to have someone disciple them. But we felt challenged to express where we think the best discipleship happens, by being integrated within a family. In these two blog posts we interviewed a family and the college student (at the time) and asked them both what discipleship looks like as their lives were interwoven.
Discipleship In the Eyes of a Family: Below is the blog interview that was done with Steve and Janine Kruyswijk.
How Can I Get Discipled?
Before we start I wanted to get an understanding of what discipleship looked like to both of you before you came to Redeemer Church?
Steve: I did not really even have a category for discipleship before coming to Redeemer. I was not intentional at all, and never even thought of discipleship. I thought being a Christian was being good and doing what you were told, and knowing enough of the Bible to be saved. I was doing that and not really thinking about other people.
Janine: I’ve never thought of it specifically before coming to Redeemer. I’ve never really had someone take the time to disciple me, so I did not really know what it was or think about it at all. I’ve heard of the concept, but have never had it play out in my life.
When Maddy came to you both and asked if she could come to your house and see what it's like to be a part of a healthy family, what did you both think this would look like or what did you expect to happen?
Steve and Janine: When Maddy first came for a visit, we figured it was just nice to have a friend over. We knew her a little from church. We did not start having her over to disciple her. She had expressed an interest to Sierra to come visit for fun, play with the kids, make new friends. I (Janine) got to know Maddy a bit before this while teaching at Redeemer Kids. I knew she did not have a close relationship with her parents, and she told me this on Mother’s Day. I did not have her over for reasons of pity, but to love her; my mother heart strings were being pulled. And Maddy is young and fun, and a student, and kids love that and look up to that. Other than getting to know Maddy better and enjoying visiting, we had no other intentions or expectations. We saw this more as a chance for fellowship with a sister in Christ than a discipleship opportunity.
How has your view of discipleship changed, after spending the last few years with Maddy?
Steve: Well, I don’t think someone gets discipled well if one is too intentional. Chill out. Want to learn about families? Make friends with parents. Hang out, become a part of the family. We never considered Maddy more than a friend and as a sister, even today. I don’t even think of it as discipleship today; were just doing life together. We actually think of her as a part of our family, and we would never forget about her. We feel very protective of her, we love her, and when you love someone, you have conversations, and you share your heart with each other, and you want to be together and help one another in any way you can.
Janine: I feel the same way as Steve. We can learn so much from each other, and we get to very practically apply the Gospel to each other’s lives and situations. We get to pray together, do family devotions together, she sees our needs, she sees we are not perfect, and we get to practice grace and forgiveness. She helps me so much. We get to know her friends, they come over with her sometimes. She is such a blessing in our lives. We have learned so much from her! She is so encouraging, and has a great sense of humor, which I need with four kids. Maddy has now had a huge amount of experience with kids. She has seen up close what a Christian marriage is like. We love having her as a part of the family. I don’t know if we are helping disciple her more, or we are learning and benefiting more from her being a part of our lives.
What sort of things from both of you did you desire Maddy to learn while being with your family?
Steve: When I think about this, considering that Maddy did not grow up in a Christian family, I desire her to learn how one Christian family operates, albeit very imperfectly and with huge weaknesses. I do believe that we have established certain routines in our lives that keep us in the Word, and that keep us discussing the Word with each other. Also, offering your children a Gospel-centered home is the best gift you can give your children and one of life’s greatest joys. She desires to be a mom someday. Establish routines that get you in the Word now so you can teach these to your kids, as well as have the biblical knowledge necessary to be able to teach your children at an age appropriate level.
Janine: I also desire for Maddy to learn what a healthy Christian family looks like. I would like her to learn from us how different roles in life (wife, daughter of God, mother, home maker, etc.) crowd into your life, and all this is difficult to keep prioritized.
I find Maddy to be a strong leader. I really desire that she takes what she learns and experiences with us and disciples and teaches others as she herself puts them into practice. I so hope that when she is married has children that she also has a “Maddy” or two that she is discipling out of a pure desire to do so. Plus she will need the help .
Through this experience, how has Jesus become sweeter in your eyes, specifically because of the relationship you have had with Maddy?
Steve: Seeing how drastically Jesus has transformed Maddy’s life and is transforming her life now makes me praise His name, and gives me hope for the work of the Holy Spirit. I thank God that we will worship with Maddy around the throne of God one day, and celebrate at the marriage feast of the Lamb, and live forever in God’s eternal Kingdom. This motivates me to speak highly about my King, knowing he is doing an amazing work in our time here on earth.
Janine: Through being part of each other’s lives, Jesus has become more real, closer and sweeter to me by experiencing his forgiveness and grace. We’ve needed to forgive each other, we’ve needed to remind each other of God’s amazing grace, and we’ve then had that blessed joy that comes when we both worship God and realizing there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God through Jesus.
This sort discipleship is very rare within the church, what sort of advice would you both give to college students who desire to have older mentors disciple them?
Steve and Janine: Get to know the families you are worshiping with in Church. Go talk to them, after or before worship. They are people just like you. See who you click with and build a relationship. It really is not hard at all. Before you know it, you are close friends and enjoying life together.
Another thing you could do is find out where there is a GC with lots of families and go join it. You’ll be in their home with other people, and you’ll be able to see multiple families interact at once.
Lastly, what are some specific things you love and appreciate about Maddy?
Steve: I love her sense of humor. She can take it if I tease her. She is like a younger sister to me.
Janine: I love Maddy. I consider her one of my best friends, as close as I am to my own blood sister. I appreciate Maddy’s honesty and openness, and I love her goofiness and sense of humor. I love seeing her grow as a woman of God. I love her generosity towards our family. The kids absolutely love her and look up to her. I want to come over and babysit her kids someday.