What to look for in a Discipleship Relationship (Part Two)

In part one of my article I encouraged you to bypass my road to failure and begin looking for a mentor. For some reason though, I feel like many people will not do this. There is something in us that blocks us from making wise, healthy decisions. Biblically I suppose it is the sin nature we are all born into and spend our lives overcoming by the power of the Holy Spirit. I’ve heard it said that people learn best through failure. To a degree that is true. Through failure we learn the pain of consequence which hopefully causes us to not repeat that action. Wouldn’t it be better, however, to learn without failing? Surely a cyclist would prefer not to get into an accident because they missed an oncoming obstacle that could have easily been avoided were it pointed out.

This is why, when putting together your Christian Pace Line, it is important to choose well.

So let’s assume you’re on board, you want to find someone to draft off (be discipled by). What should you be looking for? When deciding on your drafting partner it is important to follow behind those who are following Christ. You need someone who can share wisdom and act as an early warning system for your life.

I don’t believe we ever grow out of this need. If I asked people young and old all would say we need help as we trek across bumpy roads of life. Though we must handle some situations on our own, there are those we need to draft off the faith and experience of others.

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

We see the necessity of biblical drafting throughout the New Testament. The disciples drafted off Jesus in the three years of His earthly ministry. Timothy drafted off Paul on his missionary journeys. The early church drafted off Paul and the other disciples as they faced difficult circumstances.

It is not enough to simply follow closely behind your leader. A true disciple must heed their leaders warnings.

The road of life, like the open road, has some unexpected twists and turns. Sometimes our circumstances are by our design; sometimes they are thrust upon us. Just like communication within a cycling pace line is important to minimize injury, biblical discipleship can help minimize unnecessary pain.

The thing about hazards though, is they are not always obvious. Like a squirrel scampering across the bike path just after dusk, you can’t always see them coming. We need people in our lives with more experience to grab us by the arm and say, “STOP THIS IS A DANGEROUS ROAD!!!” It is true that most people will only learn through experience, but within the Christian pace line it is important to hear and obey the instructions of the leader.

“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.” Galatians 6:1

In life we often surround ourselves with “yes people.” These are people who, when it comes to important issues, rarely disagree with you. Though this, “don’t rock the boat” attitude may make social situations less tense, it can be detrimental to our personal growth. What we need more of is people who will speak difficult truths to us whether we want to hear them or not, and we need to willingly accept and act on those truths. Otherwise all the truth in the world can’t save us from ourselves.

It is important then, when choosing your drafting partner, to choose someone you respect. There are crucial elements to finding a suitable drafting partner that I will discuss in my next post. Until then, spend some time in prayer, and ask God to lead you to the person(s) that can help you grow.


Bryce Cooley
I've been doing some form of ministry since 2000. For 13 years I was involved in the youth ministry at Cordova Neighborhood Church as everything from youth intern to youth pastor. God has led me and my lovely wife Bethany to Church of the Foothills where I currently reside as the Digital Publishing Coordinator. I'm excited to see where God leads my wife and I.