To be one of the twelve disciples of Jesus was an experience of love. Jesus had modeled his disciple-making after the mutual love between the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Kallistos Ware writes, “The circle of divine love however has not remained closed. God’s love is, in the literal sense of the word, “ecstatic”-a love that causes God to go out from himself and to create things other than himself. By voluntary choice God created the world in “ecstatic” love, so that there might be beside himself other beings to participate in the life and the love that are his.”
This “ecstatic” love caused Jesus to come to earth and as John explained “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” 1 John 4:9 Jesus then formed a group of twelve men and for twenty-seven months he loved these disciples and he taught them how to love the other men in the group. One purpose of a disciple of Jesus is to be an image bearer of God to the world and a disciple cultivates this by learning to love other disciples. Jesus instructs his disciples, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34
The process of making disciples today should be little different than what Jesus first showed us. A discipler guides a group of men and women in how to receive love and how to love others. This discipling experience moves a person towards flourishing by being in mutual love with God and with fellow disciples because, “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” 1 John 4:16
The evidence that disciples are maturing is their ability to love others and to receive love.
 Ware, Kallistos, The Orthodox Way (Crestwood: St Vladimir’s Seminar Press, 1979), p. 44.