Dan Rockwell recently wrote in his blog, Leadership Freak, that leaders need to put relationships first. He said, “Focusing on relationships is a long-term activity in a world that expects short-term results.”
I agree completely. As we lead others to Jesus, we often expect to make disciples overnight, but it is usually a long-term process. Jesus demonstrated the importance of relationships in his life. He initiated relationships with everyone—even prostitutes and tax collectors. In doing so, he was able to gain their trust and make disciples.
Further, Jesus never took advantage of people to fulfill his own agenda. He was consumed with loving others and desired to demonstrate that love by being in relationship with them. Jesus especially sought to be in relationship with those who were poor, lame, and spiritually sick.
We can learn a lot about discipling others by examining Jesus’ relationships with people. He was not content with having superficial relationships; he desired to know people intimately. When Jesus met people, he dug into their psyches and addressed their deepest concerns.
When we find others with needs, Jesus invites us to partner with them in meeting those needs by intentionally entering into relationships with them.
It’s our move. Who do we know that needs Jesus, and how can we begin investing in a long-term relationship with him or her?