GOD’S PLAN – RELATIONAL DISCIPLESHIP
This is a six part series on “relational discipleship.” This first entry will attempt to make a biblical argument for relational discipleship as part of God’s plan for reconciling a lost world to Himself through Christ Jesus and making mature disciples.
Leaders in the church often talk about making disciples, but how is this actually accomplished? When it comes to making disciples, we should let Scripture dictate the method and model to employ. For now, let’s forget about all the books we’ve read about discipleship, and look to the one Book that actually matters – God’s Word. The Bible provides the direction we need on the subject of discipleship.
What was the first human crisis in Scripture? The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18 (NIV) This passage is so interesting because Adam wasn’t alone in the garden – God was with him. Adam had a relationship with God; yet God said it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone.
We were created for relationship with God, but also created for relationship with other human beings. And without this relationship with one another, we are not complete.
So if it’s true that relationships with God and with each other is the key to making disciples, we should find evidence of this in the rest of the Bible. The truth is, there are hundreds of passages we could look at to make the case, but here are just a few to consider:
Jesus replied, “’You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the other commands and all the demands of the prophets are based on those two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40 (NLT)
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 (NIV)
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:8-10 (NIV)
We need to be in relationship with God AND with one another to be a healthy disciple of Christ Jesus, to prepare a foundational soil that is so important to grow and fulfill the Great Commission of making other disciples.
Jesus made disciples in relational environments using intentional methods, and He is asking us to follow Him. A small group with an intentional leader + relational environment + reproducible process + biblical foundation + alignment = Relational Discipleship. That’s the model Jesus gave us.
How has relational discipleship influenced your walk with Christ? We will explore each one of these five attributes in the entries to come.