This might seem like a no brainer, but the key to sharing life is ACTUALLY SHARING YOUR LIFE. That's right, one of the biggest practical tips that I can give you in living out relational discipleship is learning to live an integrated life. This is an essential part of following the Jesus way of disciple making.
Jesus did more than teach his disciples in a class room. He shared his life with His few as they walked and talked, shared meals and prayed together. This type of lifestyle is often uncomfortable, but necessary for cultivating healthy long-term relationships.
Here are 4 areas where you can practice living out the shared life.
- Invite people into your heart
There's nothing worse than being in a relationship that feels like a project. The very best way that you can make sure your relationships don't feel that way is by learning to share the core parts of yourself with those you're discipling. Knowing the things that God has distinctly deposited in you, and being faithful to share and grow those things in your relationship with others, will lead to an authentic place of heart connection. This vulnerability will also help others build trust with you, allowing them to feel safe to share their lives with you.
- Invite them into your family
Another great way to build a shared life is by making room for those you're discipling to have access to your family and your other close relationships. Sharing a meal at your home can help move your relationship from something that feels like ministry, to something that feels more real and lasting. I've found that opening up my home and inviting people to know and be known by my family has been one of the most helpful things in building relationships that last.
- Invite them into your daily process
This may be the most practical place to practice the integrated life. Don't be afraid to invite someone to run errands with you or work on a project around your house. Some of my greatest discipleship moments have happened while I was doing dishes! It can be so powerful to invite others to sit and chat with me while I take care of my daily responsibilities. Remember, Jesus taught His disciples while they journeyed through the activities of everyday life. These moments often impact people far beyond classroom teachings or platform moments.
- Invite them into your dreams
In the same way that sharing your heart gives people access to your life now, sharing your dreams allows invites them into your future. Learn to share the prayer-dreams of your heart with people in a way that allows them to feel like you've invited them to participate and shape those precious things together with you. This is essential because it empowers people to envision a long lasting journey with you.
One last thing - Only do what you HAVE to do alone. This will look different for different people. For some of us, we tend to thrive on doing things with people. For others, there's a need to guard alone time. The key is figuring out what you need to do alone, and then be intentional about inviting others into every other part of life.
As I have shared these 4 areas where I invite people to share life with me, you may have thought of other areas that are important. ( I would love to hear about them if you do. ) Until next time...