Once we have a clear sense of where we need to grow, now we need a relational context for that growth. There is no substitute for intentional discipleship relationships. During some seasons those are one-on-one relationships. During some seasons they are peer or group relationships. We need the whole body of Christ to help us grow, and that can look different at different stages of our lives.
Although we may need one person to orchestrate the process of discipleship and provide accountability, the larger body of Christ also needs to play a role. One person alone cannot disciple effectively, because no one person can be Jesus in all ways to everyone. The whole body of Christ has something to offer in discipleship.
Good discipleship relationships involve people coming alongside us and helping us figure out what’s next in a way that takes into account our unique personality and learning style. Relationships are what results in a customized approach.
People in a discipling role ask questions like, “What is God doing now?” and “How can you cooperate with that?” Instead of telling people, “This is what you need to do to be a disciple,” they allow it to be a joint listening relationship led by the Spirit. The process of assessment, reflecting, growing, and celebrating is cyclical– and your discipleship relationships provide the context for that cycle to continue taking place.
Stop and consider your current discipleship relationships and those you are close to in your spiritual journey:
- What intentional discipleship relationships do you have? (Who is discipling you? Who are you discipling?)
- How are you serving in a listening posture?
- How are you taking the uniqueness of other individuals into account?