Mia Holder and Deirdre Otoo sat on lawn chairs at the Boston University (BU) Beach. The BU Beach doesn’t have sand, but is more of a grassy knoll offering views of the Charles River. As students involved with Navigators Collegiate, The Navigators ministry for college students across the U.S., Deirdre and Mia met to talk about their lives and relationship with Christ.
As Deirdre looked down at the Bible on her lap, she remembered her first connection with The Navigators.
It was Deirdre’s first week on campus and she passed The Navigators table as she and her family headed to eat. Her mom noticed they were giving away Bibles and pointed that out to her.
“‘Mom, you know I already have a Bible,’” Deirdre responded. “But my mom insisted, ‘Deirdre, take a Bible.’”
Deirdre took a Bible and from that point connected to the BU Navigators Collegiate, which she says felt like the Christian community she desired. It was because of how Navigators Collegiate intentionally invested in her since freshman year that compelled Deirdre to intentionally disciple Mia.
At first Mia wasn’t sure about meeting with Deirdre at the BU Beach. They had started meeting through Zoom, but now had the opportunity to meet in person. Mia wasn’t used to having these conversations about faith in such a public space.
“It was very strange for me to be out in public with the Bible on my lap and praying out loud so that a passerby could hear us. I used to rarely pray aloud, most often I would write out my prayers in a journal. I’ve grown so much since then and now BU Beach is one of my favorite places to come to and be with God,” Mia shared.
What’s It Like To Be Discipled?
Deirdre remembers being nervous when she began a discipling relationship with Becca Schulz, a Navigators Collegiate student leader who has since graduated from BU.
“With Life-to-Life® discipleship there is a sense of intent, I’m going to do this with you and we’re going to stick to it. With Becca, we were very open about what was happening in our lives and used that to search for answers within the Bible,” Deirdre shared. “It was really about doing life with someone and being involved and praying on their behalf. That was a beautiful relationship that I valued. I want to do the same for someone else who is wanting to grow in their relationship with Christ—being that person who would do life with them.”
During the spring semester in Navigators Collegiate at BU, many freshmen are paired up with other Navigators Collegiate BU students to begin discipling relationships. This is how Mia met Deirdre, who took intentional steps toward knowing Christ better together and passing along what she had learned from doing Life-to-Life discipleship with Becca.
“Deirdre was the leader of my freshman Bible study group through Navigators Collegiate and we also shared a major, which were strong bonding points,” Mia shared. “We met weekly and got to know each other more personally over the next several months. I wasn’t very comfortable talking about my faith with anybody, including my family. I had always kept that side of me very private. Meeting for discipleship every week opened a door for me to be openly confident and proud that Jesus is my Savior.”
Why a Discipling Relationship is Important
Deirdre and Mia have experienced both what it’s like to be discipled and to also disciple others on their campus. They see these authentic relationships as important because of the safe space it creates to be vulnerable with a like-minded Christ-follower, especially with the hectic schedule of college.
“Discipleship, both being discipled by Deirdre and discipling another BU student, has always felt like friends exploring the Word together. It’s become such a safe space to open up and be vulnerable. Usually we meet for an hour or two, sometimes over food,” Mia shared. “We typically begin by checking in with each other and giving life updates. Then we open up and explore whatever topic we’re reading over. We always end by asking for prayer requests and praying over each other’s requests.”
Fellowship is also another benefit of these discipling relationships and overall Navigators Collegiate experience. Coming in as BU freshman who didn’t know many people on campus, Deirdre and Mia found Navigators Collegiate to be an inviting group of people they bonded with because of the encouragement they received.
“Through Navigators Collegiate at BU, I felt this encouragement of each other in Christ immediately—even through the events and activities,” Deirdre shared. “The bond within Navigators Collegiate is so strong and therefore helps and compels you in your walk because now you have this trust and relationship with others on campus.”
Mia is encouraged by the spiritual growth happening in her life and in those she disciples.
She enjoys looking back at her faith journey and noticing how far she’s come. She also sees the value in these discipling relationships and encourages others to take the next step.
“Learning something new every week and feeling myself grow is so encouraging! It’s fun to look back and see where we started versus where we are now. I also get excited to think about how much we’ll have grown months from now,” Mia shared. “Starting a discipleship relationship feels a bit awkward at first as you figure out each other’s personality and what rhythm works best for each person. Ask God to put the right person in your life and to give you the confidence to ask them to begin a discipleship relationship.”
Find a place in your community like a park or coffee shop where you could regularly meet to study the Bible and pray with someone. Having a set location will help make discipleship a weekly habit you won’t want to miss.