Friends, family, and other relationships bring memories, fun, blessing, confusion, and challenges. And sometimes they are just plain hard . . . but needed.

Relationship is God’s chosen way to relate to us, and His design for how we relate to one another. Sometimes, especially as leaders, we are tempted to think that we don’t need deeper relationships. Sometimes we find ourselves out in front, with others following at a distance. But is this the best or only way? And how can we share with others? How can we be open for new relationships?

I love the fact that Jesus lived with His disciples. His call to leadership development was to “come” (Matt. 4:19). He invited others to walk with Him. He even let little children come to Him (Mark 10:13–16).

Paul shared his life with those he ministered to (1 Thess. 2:8). Some of Paul’s friends and co-laborers in ministry were people he had worked with as a tentmaker (Acts 18:3).

For both Jesus and Paul, relationships were key. They encountered times of suffering and even abandonment, but through it all, it was their love and obedience to God that held them strong. Relationships are worth it, even when they are hard.

Following Christ requires relationships. Taking up your cross might seem like an individual action (Luke 9:23). Yet even this command was given to a group of people. At times, perhaps we are called to a season of being alone with God, but it is always for our good and His glory, meant to bear fruit in the lives of others, to learn how to love them closer to Christ, for the purpose of the gospel in their lives as well as in ours.

So, consider this prayer for today:

And this is my prayer, that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God (Phil. 1:9–11 NIV).

The beautiful thing in these verses, as in so many other places, is that this “you” is plural. It’s us. This love, this knowledge, this insight, this discernment of best, and this purity is for “us.” We each accept Christ individually, but it is in relationship with others most often that we find our place of service, our place of healing, our place of purpose in mission—simply put, our place.

As wonderful and as difficult as they can be, we need relationships. We are created to be in relationships. Relationships are just as important to leaders as they are to anyone else.

Take a few minutes to think about it and pray. It’s worth it. Email me at to share what you are learning.

What is the best relationship you have ever had?

What are relationships like in your group right now?

How do you encourage new women to feel a part?

What is hard sometimes?

Does anything seem to hold you back?




Laura Harper is a new ministry consultant at WMU. She loves her family, coffee, chocolate, and all things missions.





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