Post by: Garrison Polsgrove
Youth Discipleship Pastor at Shepherd Church

In high school I told my track coach that running a four minute mile would be easy. I must have just drank an energy drink because a two-hundred and twenty pound fullback had no business running long distances. My track coach grabbed his stopwatch and said, “Let me see it then.” We walked out to the track circling the football field and the race began.

I started strong and after the first lap I heard him say, “You’re on pace.” I got so excited! After the second lap I heard him say, “You need to pick it up!” However, what he did not know was that my feet were burning and my lungs were in my throat. By the third lap I was jogging and by the fourth lap I was walking. I then discovered running a four minute mile was more difficult than I initially thought. My intention to accomplish something difficult might have been admirable, but taking on such a challenge without committing to train was foolish.

Committing to lead a Discipleship Group is similar to running a four minute mile. It is exciting to think about influencing a young person’s life and leading them to experience Christ, but it is difficult to commit to the weekly task of showing up and giving it your all even when you do not see immediate results.

Nothing makes you question your involvement more than enduring the long car rides home after groups pondering the question, “Am I even even making a difference?” Or spending a majority of your time with the students telling them not to use their cell phones or talk to the person next to them. Its tough! Especially when you are not the type of person who enjoys being a disciplinarian. Listen, I get it. I really do! You are serving in one of the most challenging ministries there is (second to cross-cultural missions). Students are confused and conflicted and worse is most do not have the vocabulary to express how they feel.

However, the road is long. Meaning, God does not have a stopwatch measuring your performance and basing His involvement off our weekly impact. Just how the Lord was patient with you while you were a student, He is pacing with with these students as well. Our role as leaders is not to measure our “mentor achievements” but to realize we are the coaches helping to train these students for life-long faithfulness to Christ.

So, as we begin this new semester let’s remember our role, not a measurer but a mentor. Let’s remember too that life-change does not happen in a sprint but over the course of training for a marathon.