Discipleship over Skype
“Don’t let distance separate you from your leaders”
2 Tim 2:2 tells us that “...the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” Yet how do we do this, where our scope might be the entire nation, and we just can’t be with everyone in person? Of course – we can use technology such as phone or Skype to connect with people thousands of kilometres away. You may hesitate at this non-face-to-face method of communication, and ask if it is really effective at all. On the contrary - we believe that the principles that work in discipleship that provide an environment of high transparency and transferability to your campus leaders can be developed well over distance.
Discipleship in the Fourth Dimension
The BIG advantage of discipleship is that it can occur across time and space! With Skype, as with God, vast distances and different time zones are as nothing. You can still meaningfully disciple your students - just differently from face-to-face.
You can even meet with others as a team, even if they are on different campuses. It’s particularly helpful to do this with catalytic members because group skyping builds momentum. While a campus is in pre-launch stage with only one or two committed KVs, you can create a virtual team which can provide synergy, new ideas, enthusiasm and motivation, and will counter feelings of isolation.
A bigger fishpond
Discipleship increases your pool of people power around the nation. For example, while our mostly male national catalytic is training and coaching KVs in one state, female missionaries can be discipling female KVs. And it’s not just Skype. Facebook can be incredibly useful for building relationships between students, as well as between students and missionaries. It can be used to start inter-campus adoptions and then mentoring of KVs on the adopted campuses
Whether you use Skype to call only or use a webcam, if you’ve got the download capacity, your call is absolutely free!
Limit the Limitations
Obviously, the big limitation of Skype is that you can’t get visual feedback. But you can limit how much of a drawback that is, by asking really good questions during the call, to determine how well your disciples are grappling with your training:
How do you think this applies on campus?
How do you see this concept could help or hinder your movement?
How would you explain what you just learned to someone else, in your own words?
How do you think this will add to you being a lifelong movement builder?
How will this help you reach your generation?
What did you discover from applying this concept on campus last week?
The other limitation is technical glitches. These are a pain, but with good preparation, these can mostly be avoided. Remember, there are also numerous obstacles to face-to-face meetings – traffic, sickness and schedule clashes.
Maximising your Skype Call
Set the Agenda a couple of days before the call
Send a Reminder on the morning of the call
Take notes during the Skype call
Establish Rapport - Set the tone of the meeting by praying, and then ask after your disciple's relationship with God during the week.
Personal Growth - Ask questions about how God is challenging them, what they are learning in their Quiet Times, habitual sin, character or lifestyle issues they are working on and how they are seeing daily life as an adventure with God. Just as with face-to-face discipleship, you need to practice the usual cautions in this area with members of the opposite sex. If the need arises, use other mature missionaries to follow-up individually with them over Skype.
Evangelism - It’s crucial to at least touch on evangelism each week.
Label the Stage - Identify for them what stage of a movement they are in so they can see clearly what they should be focusing on now, and what the steps are to build towards the next stage.
Vision Casting - done well generates enthusiasm and momentum for tackling the challenges ahead.
Training - Two key principles here are to aim for transparency and transferability. Transparency means your leaders know what you are doing, and why. Transferability means you are modelling skills KVs can easily pass on to others.
Ministry Evaluation - It’s characteristically catalytic to give KVs permission to try things and fail. The important thing is to learn from this.
Prayer - Commit everything that you have talked about to God and ask him to work through each of the leaders. Pray for any other personal needs raised in this time.
After the call - send a quick email with any action points.