Describe a Relational Discipleship Moment:
Life with Jesus always means life together because discipleship is always relational. From Jesus’ very first call, there was a community of disciples (remember that Jesus called two fishermen, not one). This is why at CityWell we define discipleship as: the intentional and communal formation of our lives in the way of Jesus. Discipleship is always relational.
Relational discipleship is always reciprocal. There is simply no way to walk in life together, receiving the ways of Jesus together, and for there to be a mere one-way exchange. Even those of us who may be further along in the journey will be changed as we walk with another disciple. I believe this was also true with Jesus. The scriptures say that Jesus was tempted in every way that we are and that he was made perfect through suffering. Surely this suffering included more than just the passion; surely it was also a matter of suffering to walk in relationship with stubborn, clumsy, and less than faith-full disciples. But when tempted, as we are, toward impatience, self-righteous comparison, or dismissal, Jesus overcame our bent towards sin on the path toward perfection. Disciples were made holy as Jesus was made perfect. Relational discipleship is always reciprocal.
A few months ago, a CityWeller stood before our church family to preach. In those moments I was overwhelmed at the way in which communal discipleship had transformed the relationship between me and that person, as well as both of our relationships with Jesus. A few years ago, it would have been inconceivable that this person would have become such a leader and powerful proclaimer of the gospel in our congregation. The relationship between me and that person was strained, neither of us trusting the other, and both of us being tempted toward impatience, self-righteous comparison, and dismissal. But thank God, Jesus has a hold of both of us, and we have walked together seeking to receive his ways as our way of life. Today, our relationship to one another is strong and growing, and we are both more like Jesus then we could have been apart from one another. This friend is now discerning call to pastoral ministry.
Discipleship is always relational, and relational discipleship is always reciprocal. And having been made perfect, Jesus is leading us on to perfection. Thanks be to God.