What the typical model of “church” and “relationship” has devolved into today is more akin to disciple-making through imparting information. In other words, if I tell you something, Biblically speaking, that is “true,” I am discipling you. Doing life together means that we know each other well enough that we can speak truth to one another, regardless of time, regardless of distance, and regardless of circumstance. This truth does not have to be doctrinal, though it will be Biblically based. This truth can be social, it can be relational, and it can be speaking into a struggle, an addiction, or a conflict. It can be any number of things, spoken honestly and, at times, courageously, into the life of another person.
Courage flows both ways though in this type of relationship. Of course there is the courage to say what may need to be said rather than what the other person wants to hear. But there is also courage within the heart of the listener in order to be receptive and responsive to what may be said in love and honesty. We may not agree with what is being said, but we also don’t automatically lash out in anger or defensiveness simply because the person is speaking to us what may be difficult for us to hear. There is a certain level of superficiality that permeates a good amount of today’s church culture. I may see you in church and know you well enough to say, “Hi,” or maybe ask, “How’s it going?” You would likely respond, “Fine, praise God!” Then our families might sit with one another during the service, and afterward we would go our separate ways. And we would call this interaction “friendship,” maybe even “relationship.” Turning that into a life-on-life relationship, or for us to “do life” together, means that you and I know each other to the point where we’re actually going to be honest with each other about how we’re doing in our marriage, how we’re doing with our kids, how I’m doing in my walk with the Lord, how my prayer life is going, and what am I struggling with. We’re going be honest enough to be able to talk with each other about these issues and help each other through them by pointing each other to Biblical truth and holding each other accountable. It means when my wife is physically sick or mentally down, your family might bring us a meal. It means when your child is injured and in the hospital, we come and visit you there, consoling and praying, offering help or whatever it takes to usher you through this crisis. It also means having fun together, going to dinner, or going to ball games or to a concert, whatever our shared, common interests may be. It means that if you have to call me at 3 a.m. because of something that has come up, you can do that. In fact, I would want and expect you to do that. In other words, this deeper form of relationship means helping each other through this journey called “life,” and focusing on how we are doing at being disciples and how we are doing at making disciples.
~ from “Disciples Unleashed”, my first venture into non-fiction, co-written with Dave Campbell, World Missions pastor for Real Life Ministries, AVAILABLE NOW FROM AMAZON.COM, PAPERBACK HERE FOR $11.99, OR E-BOOK HERE FOR $2.99!