Do you remember the beginning of this email series? I mentioned that the best way to make disciples is the Jesus way. Five emails later and I still believe that He was and is the best place for us to learn how to make a big difference in the world as we invest in a few people well.

I find that leaders intuitively know that growing intentional, authentic connections with people is what really matters, as opposed to programs and formulas. Yet, in the midst of this knowing, there can be a hesitancy to go off-script because relational discipleship sounds scary and unpredictable.

For some, choosing to make disciples through relationship might just sound like hanging out and drinking coffee with the hopes of something good happening. But that is not what I am talking about. 

So, in learning to disciple relationally, and not through programs, here are 4 important truths to keep in mind (the fourth being the longest):

1. Relational Discipleship does not mean that we don't share a vision or goals for where we are going. It means that we have made it our commitment to follow Jesus and loving those we are discipling our clear priority.

2. Relational discipleship means that we are sharing our Jesus Journey in real life. That means learning to be in the Word together, and then learning how to walk out the Word. It means being able to pray together and play together.

3. Relational discipleship is based on a love that meets people where they are with a vision to see them become all that the Father intended them to be. This love is not afraid of equipping people while there are still in process.

4. Relational Discipleship includes not only casting nets, but also mending nets.

  • In Mark 1:18-20, Jesus calls James and John to follow Him. Differently from when Jesus called Peter and Andrew, who had been casting their nets, James and John were mending their nets.
  • I believe that this is a stunning picture for us, because the greek word for mending nets in Mark 1 is the same word that is translated as equip in Ephesians 1.
  • The process of carefully mending nets is what makes fishermen ready for the next big catch. Sometimes it is easy to think that the fantastic "fishing stories" of our evangelistic exploits is what disciple making is all about. But mending nets is just as important. When we keep pointing people back to Jesus in their mending process, it models discipleship for them, and actually equips them to point other people to Jesus. And that's a big part of making disiples that actually feel empowered to also make disciples!

I actually have more to share with you about this, including the most practical explanation of equipping that I have ever seen. I told you in my last email that I was working on a special gift for you. I have actually compiled the content from this email series into a FREE downloadable eBook resource.

In this eBook, I flesh out the Equipping Circle and go a little more in depth about some of the subjects we've discussed. If you are interested in this free resource, just click the button below to receive this special gift, no strings attached.