As I have been studying how Jesus made disciples, I have discovered a couple key ingredients that are necessary for any culture to become a Relational Discipleship Culture.  These two simple thoughts come from Jesus’ life as described in the inspired word of God.

One key ingredient for our local congregations to grasp is the buzzword Worldview.  Everyone has a Worldview.  By Worldview, I am talking about, in the most basic of definitions, the way an individual views the world around them, or the lens through which one sees the world.  This is critically important if The Church is to begin fulfilling the Great Commission to “go into all the world and make disciples” (Matthew 28:18-20).

For example, have you ever been at the gas station or the grocery store and the cashier gave you back too much change?  For some reason, it happens to me all the time!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve given back change to the cashier and they look at me like I am crazy.  Then, that look changes to thankfulness as many explain to me that whenever their drawer is short they must cover that amount out of their own pay.  Think about that…they may be making just above minimum wage, give change back for a $20 bill instead of a $10 bill, and have just lost over an hour’s worth of pay.  Sure they may have made a mistake, which we all make mistakes, but when did it become our right to take their mistake and benefit from it…for a few measly bucks?

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Take this same situation: the cashier gives you an extra $10 bill back with your change and your kid is with you, or another person is in line behind you.  You then give back the extra change.  Now, you have not only shared your worldview (one including honesty and integrity) with the cashier, you have given the person in line something to think about (and they will) as well as modeled for your kid what is completely foreign in the world in which they interact…complete honesty, integrity and love for someone beside yourself!  This kind of behavior opens up conversations…either right then or in the many visits to come!

Another key ingredient that Jesus shows us in His life is the power of Relationship.  From His feeding and teaching of the multitudes, to the teaching of the crowds, the focused discipleship of the twelve apostles, the deep relationships with the inner three, and the intimate relationship with the Father, Jesus modeled relationship better than anyone ever has or will!  Relationship requires love, patience, genuine interest, grace, and vulnerability.  They require a time investment and a willingness to put someone else in a place of priority in your life.

The argument I usually hear is, “I don’t have time to add one more thing to my list of stuff I need to get done!”  I get that!  We can fill up our time with work, school, ministry, sports, etc., and feel like we are barely getting by.  Yet, with the shift in worldview, we begin seeing things differently.  We realize that in everything we are already doing there are people that God loves dearly…many of which don’t even know Him yet!  We can build relationships wherever we are: at work, school, kids sporting events, and with the clerk at the gas station.  These bits of time we spend with people can, over time, open up some amazing conversations…we simply need to care enough about others to share our life with them, get to know them, pray for them, and genuinely be a friend.  Spiritual conversations happen more often when we develop a relationship first – intimacy requires trust!

So here’s a formula that CAN be duplicated: Biblical Worldview + Relationship = Relational Discipleship

The development of a Biblical Worldview is how we discover our purpose in this life…our calling from God.   Relationship is the vehicle for discipleship to happen within that call!

As His model of Relational Discipleship begins to take hold in our local congregations, we will begin to see a culture change…we will witness a Jesus Culture that hasn’t been seen since the days of Jesus and the early church!  We will begin making disciples who will in turn make disciples!

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