Discipleship is Relational

At its very core discipleship is a relational activity. Ultimately is about being faithful to God’s call to love the people around you. Its about loving these people enough to help them see how God is moving in their lives and help them get to where God wants them to be. Discipleship cannot happen outside of a relationship. It is not simply transferring information, rather discipleship is relational.

Watch: “The Heart of A Disciple Maker” by Francis Chan & David Platt


At Soma discipleship is our focus. Yes discipleship is a complicated word (or at least we make it a complicated word), but it really boils down to helping people become more like Jesus. That is the goal of discipleship, help people become more like Jesus. When discipling “leaders” our goal is to help develop leaders who look and lead like Jesus.

So what’s the reason we do discipleship? Is the reason that we do it simply because it is something we were commanded to do? By no means! We don’t simply do it because we are told to do it. The truth is God doesn’t simply care about external outward actions/appearances/religious activities. If he did then the Pharisees would be the heroes of the faith! So I’m not going to tell you “Man Up and do it! Its required!” Rather I want to tell you that if you have the right heart discipleship will be an overflow of your heart.

If you read 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 you quickly ome to realize that even the most impressive sacrificial actions are worthless if they are not empowerd by love. So ask yourself:

“Am I the type of person who could teach someone without loving them?”

I know I certainly am. I often find myself getting caught up with work and school. I often find myself going through the motions without loving others. I just disciple people because I “have to.” But that isn’t what Discipleship is about…. it isn’t simply about eaching people useful in (though you should). It isn’t simply about raising up new leaders (though you should). Its ultimately about loving on people. Its about being faithful to God’s call to love on the people around you.

Discipleship is about loving people enough to help them see their need for God and to see their need love and obey God in any context he has placed them.

When you are loving people, and disciplining others to become like Jesus you are gloryfing God and helping others to glorify God… and that is ultimately what life is all about.

Discuss: How Discipleship is a Relational Activity – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (Questions are from Multiply)

  • Up to this point, would you say that your desire to make disciples has been motivated by love? Why or Why not?
  • Take some time to consider your existing relationships, especially your discipleship relationships. Describe your love for the people God has placed in your life. What evidence can you point to that shows that you love the people around you?
  • In addition to praying fervently, what practical steps can you take to increase your love for people?

Published by cwoznicki

Chris Woznicki is an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. He works as the regional training associate for the Los Angeles region of Young Life.

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