By Patrick Porter

Begin with prayer (5 minutes)

Gather together as a Community in a comfortable setting (around a table, on the couch, the floor of a living room, etc.). Have someone lead a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together.

Debrief the teaching in triads (5 minutes)

If you are in a Community of seven or more, divide into small groups of 3–4 people each (ideally the same gender).

Spend a few minutes catching up on life…

Then talk through the following debrief questions:

  1. How have you incorporated the Body categories from last week’s practice into the working draft for your rule of life?
  2. How does creating a Rule of Life for body/health line up with other practices (i.e., a rule of digital life, mind/abide, etc.?

Read this overview

Relationships are a gift. Much like the Sunday gathering or community, relationships are a way that we are formed and can form others more into the likeness of Jesus over time. God is deeply relational. At the beginning of the Bible’s story, we see the first man asking God for a partner, and God answers that prayer. And it was good. Later we see one of the heroes of the Bible, Ruth, honor her loyalty to friendship; and as a result, God established a lineage from her that eventually led to Jesus. 

Speaking of Jesus, the twelve people he kept closest to him were more than just his disciples. He called them his friends. These friends would go on to start what would become the church as we know it today. God values are relationships and can do incredible things through them.

Whether it’s a spouse, a close long-term friend, your Van City Community, or just someone that you love spending time with, God has designed us for relationships. When we prioritize, invest in, and remain loyal to these relationships, we make room for others to speak into and be a part of our lives. They can strengthen us and hold us accountable to the way of Jesus. 

Do this Practice as a Community right now (15–20 minutes)

Talk through the following questions. Document your answers and ideas in a journal as you unpack them.

  1. Think back to the Life Context Practice we did several weeks ago. What are some of your primary relationships and the roles you play in them, i.e. mother, brother, friend, wife, son, employee, etc? Everyone has multiple roles. 
  2. What relationships in your life occupy the majority of your time?
  3. When thinking about these relationships, what are some of the needs of the relationship itself, the individual, or the group involved?

Discuss the coming week’s Practice (5 minutes)

The Practice for this week is to begin drafting what will become your Rule of Life for relationships. Remember, your Rule of Life is written with a pencil, not a pen. You will very likely adapt and update it as you move forward.

This week, take time to do the following:

  1. Write down a list of the people who matter to you most.
  2. Write down how you contribute to the relationships with the people on this list, and how they contribute to your relationship with them.
  3. Based on these lists, do you feel like you need to change anything? Do you need to put effort into these relationships or prioritize time differently for them?
  4. Make a chart listing who you will spend quality time with on a daily/regular, weekly, monthly, quarterly/seasonally, and annually basis. List what you will do and be specific. Instead of just writing “hang out”, make plans. “We will go to this coffee shop and hang out for one hour once a month.”

Examples for friendship: Weekly phone call or coffee with close friend, regular times to connect over a meal, etc.

Examples for church: Weekly meal with community, church on Sunday, regular parties, serving together, etc.

Examples for marriage: A fifteen-minute touchpoint per day, weekly date night, cultivating healthy sexual connection, regular getaways, etc.

Examples for family: Sitting down to dinner regularly, sabbath, a weekly one-on-one time between parent and kid, annual vacation, family movie night or Saturday fun day, etc.

Recommended baseline practice: Commit to a weekly meal with your community and some daily and weekly touchpoints with your spouse and children or other family members, and/or closest friends.

If you’re new to this practice, we recommend you start with a weekly get together with a close friend to connect at a soul level.

Work through these discussion questions before you call it a night (5–10 minutes)

  1. What do you think will be the biggest obstacle for this practice?
  2. What are some ways that you are already doing this?

Close in prayer (5 minutes)