In all the blending of family, comradeship, teaching and mentoring that happens in a mission order there can be dangerous associations occuring across all kinds of lines of family diginity and respect, to the point that a student may well become an intimate follower of a teacher, but also a kind of admiring acolyte in a way that is undermining the honouring of their parents, their own self confidence and their trust in the power of God’s Spirit living and working in them. So beware suggestions that this is all about making your students into ‘followers of you’. To some extent they will inevitably be followers of any teacher who has served them well. But in the end, your hope must be that you will, as John
said, ‘decrease’ and Jesus will ‘increase’ so that they will in fact be followers of the true Messiah. Learn to faithfully and graciously allow space and distance for them to own that and to enjoy the growth and independence that comes with their decreasing need of your help and support. But be careful, sometimes, without realising what is happening, a natural and deep family kind of love develops because God is, unofficially, adding someone to your family. Here a much deeper relationship is appropriate and may well be a life-time one.