Sometimes my mind wanders. I always find it interesting to discover where its been after it wanders back to me. Most recently, it did a little time-traveling.

What if we, the family of First Presbyterian, really catch the spark in intentional relational discipleship? What does this look like (in our fictional future now) looking back to today?

For me, it has echoes of an earlier group. In my case, a team of co-workers in corporate America and not a church team. But this group bonded closely over many years into something closer than family. We weren’t just working together, we were doing life with one another and ministering to one another. It was a work environment unlike any I experienced before or since.

As all man-made creations do – the company we were a part of ended, and the people moved to new jobs, new homes, and new towns. But the relationships chosen and nurtured among those team members survives.

The only down-side to this type of discipleship is the hunger for more.

So, looking “back” at what our church family did to build these same types of relational bonds among ourselves, it looks like surviving and overcoming the pitfalls of team building was our first, big accomplishment.

Looking at the DiscipleShift book, the author said first agree on the definition of discipleship and make certain everyone understood that definition. That type of clear communication served as a model to the discipling teams as they came together.

The teams worked together to set their goals, and made certain everyone understood those goals and agreed with them – even if it took compromises to get there. A common goal with everyone working together toward that goal made sure we were with one another and not against ourselves.

As mentors found their students and students adopted their mentors, the trust that grew between them was enabled by open, honest, and respectful communication. And that trust built an environment where we could take certain risks in the relationship – advocating positions that might not be considered safe to explore, or taking actions that seemed out of character.

That type of environment helped build a sense of belonging, not exclusion. As new team members find their way into the group, they are welcomed like new family members, not excluded from a clique.

And that welcoming spirit allowed the teams to work at full capacity, with a variety of strengths, experiences, talents, and points-of-view focused on any problems or opportunities it faced.

Finally, the teams checked themselves regularly, to make sure certain they were making decisions and taking actions that reflect Jesus. Some teams worked on diagnosing their procedures and conflicts, others asked for participative leadership to help assess and gauge progress.

In all, the discipling teams are well on the road to selflessness, dedication, collaboration, and flexibility as they love one another.

[John 13:35] “Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another.”

David Richard