A small piece from ‘the Disciple’
At the last supper, Jesus says to His disciples, ‘I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.’ John 15:15 (NIV) Jesus, Himself, looked at these men and calls them ‘friends.‘ Some may argue that this is stated only because He was going to die to make peace between God and men, but there is more to it.
It is said in context of the group of disciples that Jesus asked to follow Him. It is with the group of people that Jesus spent several years with on a daily basis. It is within the context of the group who ministered together, who laughed together, had meals together, and interacted together. We cannot forget that, while Jesus was God, He was also human. He was a man in need of fellowship, friendship, and time with others.
In many circles, it is believed that we cannot be friends with those we lead or serve. Part of this belief stems from the reality that ministers cannot be good friends with everyone in a church. However, we have already established that neither can they disciple a whole church. There does need to be a connection with those who are being discipled by every leader. To do otherwise, would be trying to disciple in a way other than how Jesus did it.
Part of discipleship is relationship. This is scary because we are not perfect like Jesus. It is also far more comfortable to lead out of our strengths than in our weaknesses, which people who are close to us will see. It is difficult for a boss to be friends with all of his employees. Too often, we think this translates into our Christian walk. However, in that setting, the employees serve the boss. In the Kingdom of God, the employees are served.