A helpful piece of advice for making followers of Jesus is to meet the family of your disciple, no matter his age. Within minutes of meeting his dad, mom, brothers, and sisters you will have a deeper understanding of his behavior because it was within the context of these relationships that he developed his approach in relating to others.
Jesus told his disciples: “Love one another. As I have loved you so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35) To follow Jesus is to love others, which means a large part of the disciple making process is teaching your disciple how to love and how to receive love.
For many of your disciples the home was not a place of love. He developed dysfunctional ways of relating to men through his dad and brothers and dysfunctional patterns with women through his mom and sisters. His framework for all relationships was formed by his parent’s treatment of one another, their treatment of him, and how they guided the children in relating to one another or in many cases how they neglected to guide the children.
Usually any façade, concealment, or pretense by your disciple, whether intentional or unintentional, will be exposed by meeting his family. I am often humored at how a person’s disposition can immediately change in the presence of his mom, or dad, or sibling. More than once I have been surprised when I have met the family of one of my disciples. The sooner you can meet your disciple’s family the deeper your relationship will be with him and the more effective your counsel.
What does the word disciple mean?