One of the most difficult aspects of Discipleship Focused Youth Ministry is finding good leaders who are intentional disciples themselves. If you are already a discipleship leader, one of the greatest struggles is likely believing that you are or can be a good leader as well (don’t get discouraged, I’m sure you are!).
When I was first becoming familiar with a discipleship approach, I spent a lot of time seeking out people who were already in the business of discipleship. One of the questions I always asked was, “How do you know someone is ready to be a disciple-maker?” It seems each person has their own methods of discernment, but at least three people mentioned an acronym that I really appreciated. The acronym is F.A.C.T. (I believe it is commonly used by FOCUS) and it stands for:
F = Faithful
Is the person faithful to prayer and to the Sacraments? Is he or she faithful to the teachings of the Church and obedient to the vision of the parish and the expectations of the pastor?
A = Available
Does the person have the time to be a discipleship leader? Will the person have the time to be available to those whom he or she is investing in? Will the person be able to plan and communicate well?
C = Contagious
Is this someone whose joy in the faith is contagious? Is he or she able to create an atmosphere where the faith can be transmitted joyfully to those they are responsible for leading?
T = Teachable
Will this person take the time to learn from others? Will this person be able to attend the training and formation opportunities available to them? Can this person humbly accept criticism and be open to what the Lord may be doing in them through the discipleship process?
There is much more to being a discipleship leader than these four acronyms can articulate, but I believe they are core elements that can help any person understand what it takes to get started in discipleship.
I created a simple handout that I have used as I do trainings for different parishes and dioceses. It is a basic “self-evaluation” for discipleship leaders and breaks each of these four traits down even further. I pray it is helpful for you and others in your parish. Please feel free to share it.