Disciple-making is the gospel applied to my relationships in order to restore the world to the way God intended. To be a disciple of Jesus is to belong to the heavenly father, Jesus, and to fellow disciples. For 27 months Jesus pulled his 12 disciples together for them to experience belonging by a) teaching them the love of the heavenly father, b) by cultivating their love for one another, and c) to move them towards a unity that would be clear to outsiders.
People are to be in mutual relationship because they are the image of God. Yet the America culture values individualism emphasizing personal liberty, independence, self-reliance, and self-direction of the individual. To make disciples in North America is countercultural as we move a person from isolation into connection with God and his children.
Rarely do churches or ministries check the “belonging factor” of a person to determine his spirituality. Yet Jesus teaches us that the evidence of being his disciple is love and to be in unity with other disciples. In other words, the mark of spiritual maturity is the ability to love and to receive love.