If we are ever going to grow up in our faith, we will need spiritual relationships to help us do so. A mature person in Christ has deep relationships that help him or her remain mature and even grow further. There is absolutely no way around the need for real relationships. Scripture teaches us this over and over again. Experience bears it out. We must develop, maintain, and champion close relationships with other believers. It is both the means to maturity and maturity itself.

So – where do we go? What do we do? How do we start? People often ask me the question “How can I move forward with being and making disciples when my church either doesn’t support or doesn’t vision cast discipleship? We don’t even have a small group culture here – where can I go for relational discipleship?”

Many people believe discipleship it is out of reach for them if their church does not do small groups. Or even if there is a small group system, some might say that no one is “real” at their church, therefore transparent relationships are impossible. And I get that – it can be hard to change an entire culture that needs to change. But you know what? I am only asking you to change one person… Yourself.

Jim Putman, author of this blog, is writing a new book called The Death of Discipleship about the dynamics of pride and humility in the discipleship process. Download the free primer for this book here.

Every church has issues because there are people in them, and maturity means seeing problems rightly and becoming a solution if you can. The church can’t be everything to everyone.

We each have a personal responsibility for our own spiritual growth. Maturity requires you to be a spiritual self-feeder, even if no one else around you is. We each have the capacity to read the Word. We have the Holy Spirit within who can help us live out the Christian walk.  And we each have the ability to begin building relationships with other believers without the permission of the pastor or leaders.

As it pertains to relationship, no pastor or leader can be in relationship with everyone. For a church to have a relational culture, the folks in the church must decide to help create it. We all need spiritual relationships, but we don’t require a church program to make it happen. We may not be able to change the whole culture of a church we attend, but we can always create a relational culture for discipleship within our own lives.


Written by Jim Putman

This was originally posted on Jim Putman’s blog here. Used with permission.