How to Do One to Ones

Practical hints on how to start regularly encouraging someone in their faith


This article gives some handy tips on how to meet with someone to encourage them in their faith, whether you’re being called to enthuse a new believer, establish a young believer, equip someone for ministry or mentor someone for mastery. Find out what to prioritise and what to do during that first crucial meeting.

Derek Leaf

Leader, Navigators UK

Currently leads the Navigators in the UK, and travels into Latvia. Yet, his key role is one of prayer and standing with God. He is married and has four grown children.

How to do one to one




Meeting with someone to help them in their walk with God or ministry is an exciting and rewarding challenge. It is also something that is beyond the experience of many. Here are some practical hints on how to go about it. (What follows makes no pretensions at being the only way to do it, rather this is advice gleaned over years of experience.)


First Meeting

What a privilege! You are to meet with another believer to help them grow in Jesus! Now, what on earth do you do? A first meeting should answer exactly that question!


Life on Life ministry like any other relationship has to begin with a first meeting. First impressions can be important. They set the ethos for future times. This is often a unique time since there are many more questions than answers, and the aim is much more about discovering who each of the participants is than trying to achieve anything.


  • Pray– Ask for it to be a work of God rather than just people; the Lord needs to be involved.
  • Listen- Discover the situation and spirituality of the person you meet.
  • Agree purpose– Agreeing the purpose at the beginning can help avoid frustration.
  • Give a taster– Demonstrate the style of content you may cover.
  • Arrange logistics– Work out the detail of how and where you will meet.
  • Following the meeting– Write notes to yourself for next meeting.


Hints for meeting

The essence of why we are meeting up with a person is all about Jesus. It is not primarily about us and what we have to offer, nor about them and their issues, hopes and desires. Even if the stated purpose of the meeting is to help in some area of life or ministry, it is good to keep the spiritual perspective alive. If you stay with mechanics, the area of ministry often descends to human effort and the Lord is excluded. Keep Jesus in focus and you won’t go too far wrong!

Normally the more mature person sets the course, even if it is done in agreement with the person being helped. This requires thinking time outside of the actual meeting.

  • Bible thoughts for this ministry– Keep the Lord in focus.
  • Relationship – Share what is going on in each of your lives.
  • Plan – What materials or subjects could stimulate growth over a year?
  • Led by the Spirit – Listen to God so you can go in partnership with him.
  • Planning process– details of how to come up with a plan.
  • Pray– Walk with God in partnership through prayer.
  • Objectives– These surface as you ask questions about needs.
  • Content– What materials could help this person with these issues?
  • Timing– How often to meet and for how long.


Tailoring your one to one

The content of your meetings will vary greatly depending on the person you’re meeting with. Here are some suggestions for meeting with people at different stages of their walk with God…


  1. Enthuse New Faith

New faith is a time of wonder. Suddenly a person’s world has been turned upside down; there is a whole new way of looking at things and understanding them. It is a great privilege to be with someone as they start this journey.

In meeting with a new believer, it is good to nurture this sense of wonder, and the romance stage of meeting with God.

Helping a young believer at this stage of spiritual life is like looking after an infant. It is often called spiritual paediatrics. Here are some suggestions.

  • Prayer – This is God’s child we are helping, and he shares an interest.
  • Romance stage– A time of discovery from a secure place.
  • Teach to feed – Developing their own quiet times, with God and his word.
  • Manage the mess– Where there is immaturity there is mess. This is normal.
  • Show the way– A new believer needs patient instruction and a godly example.
  • See the life– Discover the reality behind their words.


  1. Establish

The person for whom this is important is someone who so desires to grow in their walk with God that they are willing to pay a price. They have gone through the Romance stage as a new believer, so the basics of the faith are not new to them. Now they have come to a place where they desire more of God. They are not content with skating over the surface and realise that to gain more of Jesus costs them, for it is only as they empty themselves of self that there is room in thier lives for him. Now they trust him enough to give him their all.

What are the key elements that are involved in establishing a believer in faith? Here are some thoughts.

  • Prayer– Since this is God’s work more than ours, work with them in prayer.
  • Training stage– The theme at this point of development is one of training.
  • Study the Scriptures– The grounding is in principles from the Bible.
  • Apply the Word– With real engagement, life issues begin to surface.
  • Handle issues– As you meet with them, character issues begin to surface.
  • Emotional baggage– In our broken society, emotional issues begin to surface.
  • Ministry experience– Minister together and see real life in the context of service.
  • Balance content & life– Bible content and materials balanced with life issues.
  • Share your life– When you share life, the theory is given hands and feet.


  1. Equip for Ministry

Ministry extends the love of God. This love does not come naturally to us. We need training or equipping to develop its expression. For those who are more experienced in ministry, this is the opportunity to develop others and give them the opportunity to take on ministry roles. The fact that others will take on these roles will ultimately lead to your ministry being multiplied. There is of course a cost at the beginning, but the outcome is that God’s work goes on beyond you.

The practicalities:

  • Cover all with prayer – This is the Lord’s ministry, let’s involve him.
  • Equip in stages– A leader can develop through encouragement, teaching and mentoring.
  • Range of ministry– Develop people in ministry where you have been before.
  • Study the Scriptures– Learn from God, the greatest leader.
  • Practice– It is essential to start ministering at the earliest opportunity.
  • Forms of ministry – Usually best practices are developed for a cultural environment.
  • Spiritual leadership– Be close to God and lead.
  • Develop leadership– Help a leader go beyond their ministry to develop others.
  • Share your life – This form of ministry becomes real as you share your life.


  1. Mentor

It is about helping someone who is already established in faith to move on to mastery. It is about the process of letting go of some of the rigour achieved in being established as love is developed. Here the student needs to develop their own expression of faith and be encouraged to explore new avenues of what it means to walk with God.

There are a number of elements in helping someone to develop in mastery of their faith. Here are some:

  • Pray– This is a work of God, so we need to be praying.
  • Develop character– The aim, above all things, is for the development of love.
  • Sensitive to Spirit– Watch how the Spirit is leading in the process.
  • Tact & courage– Strong leaders can be difficult to confront.
  • Mentoring process– Talk through issues in search of understanding.
  • Guiding texts – A passage from the Bible can help keep the direction clear.


Copyright © Derek Leaf 2017


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Turner House, 54 The Avenue, Southampton, SO17 1XQ

023 8055 8800



Turner House,
54 The Avenue,
SO17 1XQ

023 8055 8800


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