Fulfilling the Purpose


Posted by Lesli Travis

To know God and to make Him known is a statement of purpose for me as a follower of Jesus Christ.

I had never heard this, much less understood this, until I attended college. Through the encouragement of friends, I became involved in a campus ministry that provided biblical teaching and training. This teaching, guided by the Holy Spirit, would ultimately change my perspective of life and for life.

I began participating in a small bible study group we referred to as discipleship. I had one leader who invested her life into me and two other women in my group for all four of my college years. Through the sacrificial example of my group leader - and the faithfulness and accountability of my group members - I too became committed to pouring my life into others. This biblical lifestyle and process was and still is my life’s passion. Through this college relationship, I caught a glimpse of why discipleship was so important to God. It changes lives and creates a stronger desire to be more like Him and “to make God known” to the world.

As an adult, my husband and I have seen first-hand what the benefits are of being a part of an accountability and bible study group. These cultivated relationships are such that will last a lifetime. Our hope is that the importance we place on staying in an “iron sharpening iron” relationship will trickle down throughout our family.

We have had three children impacted by the process of discipleship. At Shades, we refer to it as a dGroup. Without a doubt, this ministry is one of the greatest opportunities for our students to grasp what Jesus has called them to be.

Our oldest son just graduated high school and was blessed to be in a group with the same fearless leader and group members from seventh through high school. He claims the consistency, the accountability and the content of his time with his dGroup was life-changing. My other children are currently involved in a discipleship relationship that continues to provide support (when needed), truth (when required) and fellowship (always). The fellowship, accountability, teaching and commitment that comes with dGroups is a perfect example of what Paul instructed Timothy to do in II Timothy 2:2:

And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

Our prayer for our children is that through dGroups, they will become better equipped and prepared to live according to God’s plan for their lives and that they too will pour their lives in to others, reaching the world for Christ.

Currently, with the help of a co-leader, I disciple a group of seven senior girls. It is one of my greatest joys in life.

To be able to use what the Lord taught me when I was younger is not only exciting but affirming that God never gets tired of using us as long as we are available to be used. You’ve probably heard the saying “Jesus ministered to the masses, but he discipled only a few." This sounds exclusive but Jesus spent all of His time with just a few because He knew the world could be changed by these disciples … living, eating and breathing Jesus. The entire world was changed through these few men that Jesus invested His life into.

I believe that each student that participates in dGroups will have this same impact on the world surrounding them. This is God’s great design for reaching the lost. We receive training from others and we give training to others so that they will continue this process for generations to come. dGroup emphasis at Shades has taken the biblical perspective of discipleship and planted it in the hearts of many.

Prayerfully, our students will take these principles and be changed by them. Why? So that they can fulfill the purpose, “To know God and to make Him known.”