Just the other day, I was reminded of the importance of the letter "P" in our acronym - R.E.P.S. that we use for our Mission Statement:
Coming together through outdoor ministries to Reach Equip Partner and Send for His glory.
The "P" is important - Partnership. Partnership lets people to know that this journey, while uniquely crafted for them by God, is not a solo journey. We will always be apart of the process; even when they are off and running with their own Fully Packed Adventure Ministry Chapter or just in everyday life.
In Matthew 28 verses 18-20 Jesus tells his disciples:
"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."
The last part of this verse: "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." is where the letter "P" - Partner comes into play. Notice how Jesus finished this by telling his disciples "And surely I am with you ALWAYS." Always... he will always be with them to the very end of the age.
As we embody Christ, to our disciples, we must let them know that we will be with them ALWAYS aka Partnership. I'm not saying that we will be there holding their hands, but I'm saying that we will be there checking in, always "on call", picking them up / reminding them of Christ's unconditional love and grace when times get rough, praying for them when they begin to question their faith, or praising with them in times of glory.
So often we seek for God to convert and then, we wash our hands of the process and push them out of the nest to fend for themselves. Yes, I agree that there needs to be a little "skin in the game" on their part, but we can't expect them to understand everything and figure it out own their own. This is why Jesus said: "And surely I am with you always...". He is with us always and so we should be with our disciples always, to the very end of the age.
Isaiah 41:10 says - So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Let Isaiah 41:10 be our battle cry: Do not fear, God is with me; don't be discouraged for I am your God. He will strengthen us, help us, and uphold us! Share this with your disciples. Let them know that in Matthew 28 Jesus tells us he will always be with us and in Isaiah He tells us not to fear, do not be discouraged; He will strengthen us, help us, and uphold us. Let you disciples know that God promises this and as we embody Christ we promise this too.
We have tons of resources at our disposal to stay in contact aka stay in partnership with our disciples after we send them. Text, Facebook message, Facetime, Google Hangout, email, etc. If you're still in the same town, make it a point to spend time with them over coffee, lunch, breakfast, go for a ride, run, hike, etc. Just make sure they know, no matter what, you are there for them always!
Thanks and God Bless!
PC: David Wildman along the Great Divide Route near Lima, Montana. 1 minute alone on this route feels likes you've just spent multiple days alone. The vastness is overwhelming.