Discipleship Relationships by Penny Snider

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Last time I wrote, I wrote about prayer. This time, I thought I would concentrate on another spiritual habit that we Spoke Folkers are called to practice — discipleship relationships.

While it is easy to leave our disciple relationships on tour, they can be a bedrock for our relationship with Christ. These relationships are not unique to Spoke Folk. I’ve engaged in many discipling relationships over the years, and they have gone by a variety of names — accountability group, 1 on 1, Cursillo grouping, to name a few. My bible study groups have even filled this role at different times.

Discipling relationships are not new. I can see them in Jesus’ ministry. Jesus ministered to many, many people, but He had 12 special men who spent extra time with Him. Beyond that, He had 3 really special men that shared some of His most intimate moments.

In Matthew 17, He invites Peter and the two sons of Zebedee (John and James) up the mountain to watch Him be transfigured before their very eyes (v. 1-2). He tells the 3 to keep the experience to themselves until after His resurrection (v. 9); it was for them alone for a time. In Matthew 26, we see Him ask something extra of those same three men. “Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’” (v. 38)

If Jesus had a few super close men who He could count on, let us model our discipleship the same way. Galatians 6:2 puts it this way: “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

I do want to caution you, just as the 3 men in Jesus’ inner circle were not perfect, the people who you invite into a disciple relationship are not either. At the Transfiguration, they became afraid and really didn’t understand what was happening (17:6, 17:4). And worse, at the prayer time in Gethsemane, when Jesus needed them the most, they fell asleep…3 times! (26:40-45). Jesus forgave them and still counted them close. I encourage you to do the same in your relationships, if possible.

A few practical thoughts:

  1. If you do not have a disciple relationship with anyone, PRAY! Ask God who He is preparing and then ask that person or persons.
  2. Decide on a time to commit to building the relationship. Make it fit your routine, so that it’s easy to keep. E.g. If the person is at school, perhaps you can meet at lunch once a week. Or if the person is at church, perhaps decide to meet early or stay late on Sunday.
  3. Pray for the person during the week.
  4. Decide on what you want to discuss each week. Not sure what that might be? Request a digital copy of Spoke Folks Discipling Relationship page. Look on the Internet. Ask me.
  5. Discipling relationships change over time. If it is time to move on, celebrate your time together and pray for your next steps.

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