Discipleship in the Native American context needs to built upon a relationship where trust has been established. Too often Christian staff workers believe they have automatic authority over Native American college students they are working with. Without trust the Christian staff worker is an outsider with no authority to speak into the life of the Native American college student.
Discipleship with Native American college students happens organically in daily life during daily tasks. For the Native American college student they have several disciplers, people who teach them about life, their culture, traditions, dances, language, and ceremonies. Non-Native disciplers cannot show a Native American college student how to be Native and a follower of Jesus. Only the Native student can discover how they can be Native and a follower of Jesus at the same time.
“Leadership in the Native American context is a position that is granted, and not based on a title, or job description.”
Many reading this are hoping there is a program or list of resources of How To Disciple Native College Students, and will be sad to know there is none. But, here are a few guidelines or ideas about how to help Native college students be courageous, faithful, and influential followers of Jesus
- RELATIONAL – take time to build a relationship with Native students first before any sort of teaching, preaching, or spiritual conversation.
- RESTORE – letting students be Native. Helping them see Creator with their own lenses. Encourage them to embrace their Native identity.
- NURTURE – Native people don’t always like talking about being Native. Help them seek Jesus as healer. Invite Native elders (leaders) to talk with the student or your group.
- SERVE – join them on their spiritual journey as they discover their identity as a Native follower of Jesus. Affirm who they are and “believe them.”