By Patrick Porter and Cameron Silsbee

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. What was noteworthy from your time this past week reflecting on your apprenticeship to Jesus?
  2. How has reflecting on your stage of apprenticeship helped as you write your Rule of Life?

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 that a person needs spiritual companionship. Throughout the Scriptures we see people in relationships, being moved forward by God through those relationships.

Even Jesus had twelve people he kept closest to him who 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. In the Scriptures we see a God who values 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 last week’s Practice and your life context. What are some of your primary relationships and the roles you play in them, i.e. mother, brother, friend, wife, son, employee, etc? Keep in mind that everyone has multiple roles. 
  2. What relationships in your life occupy the majority of your time?
  3. As you think about your relationships, which of these relationships would you consider being spiritual companionship (as in, people you can talk to about the state of your soul as you follow Jesus)?

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.”
  5. Take note of how many relationships are with people you consider spiritual companions. Consider whether you need to develop more of these relationships, prioritize them, or put more focus into these.

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

Examples for spiritual companionship: Weekly meal with your Van City Community, the Gathering on Sundays, regular celebrations, a consistent rhythm for coffee or lunch with spiritual companions, 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 Van City 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 someone you consider a spiritual companion to talk about the state of your soul.

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. Can you think of relationships off the top of your head that you need to prioritize?

Close in prayer (5 minutes)