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Making Friends or Making Disciples?

Here’s a thought…you must decide which holds a greater preeminence in your life: making friends or making disciples. (When I say “making friends” I mean that in the most popular sense: trying to make people feel good about themselves, staying away from controversy, packing up the hard conversations in favor of the peaceful surface.) In my experience, there will be times where you must decide which is your ultimate aim because, for one reason or another, you cannot have both.
Sometimes making disciples means we graciously and truthfully drill down deep on someone’s sinful patterns in their life, patiently calling them to repentance and pursuing them like a shepherd running after a wayward sheep. It may mean conversations not typified by smiles, laughter or an easiness of spirit but a quiet intensity, sober resolution and slow, steady, stern words. Making disciples may turn your stomach into knots, make you feel a little queasy or cause you to break out in a nervous sweat as you anticipate the “hard conversation” you’ve got in about an hour from now, hoping somehow they might have to cancel on you at the last minute.

This isn’t to say you can’t make disciples and have friends. This is to say that in the realm of helping people become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ, one will influence the other.

Which one will it be for you?

Picture of Yancey Arrington
Dr. Yancey C. Arrington is an eighth generation Texan, Acts 29 Network and Houston Church Planting Network fan, and Teaching Pastor at Clear Creek Community Church in the Bay Area of Houston. He is also author of Preaching That Moves People and TAP: Defeating the Sins That Defeat You, and periodically writes for Acts 29 and The Gospel Coalition.

2 thoughts on “Making Friends or Making Disciples?”

  1. Hi… My name is Lisa…. I saw your post on Jennifer in Ca blog….I decided to check out yours! *Ü*

    I do believe it was a God thing!

    I have recently had to confront a friend on irrational, hurtful behavior. It took me “many” years to gain the nerve…. it was out of fear of loosing the friendship…. I didnt want to and deep down knew it probably would to some degree….

    I love her… warts and all *Ü* ( cause I have those too, Im not perfect) but in many instances from the last.. gosh I don’t know 8 years or so…. When things come up she always thinks the very worst of me and attacks my character…. Has called me jealous and other irrational things…. Hung up on me when something didn’t go her way…. Just hurtful, shocking things…

    I came to a point where I realized I was not being a good friend in return. I began keeping a distance and even quietly left our home school group because of it. Not wanting to make waves…. If I did do anything with her… I was firm in what I was planning and was always very upfront about everything…. I did this so we would not have any type of contradiction and or confrontations that were bad…. It was like I began walking on egg shells and I resented it. it wasn’t healthy and I felt I was then contributing and sinning myself….also not being a good friend….

    The conversation really went well on my part, but unfortunately the friend says she didn’t recall any of the things I brought up ( they were only a few I didnt go into every thing…. because it wasnt about that… but hoping to help correctthe behavior) about her behavior, expect one. The friend pretty much took it wrong and I saying she was not a good person or friend, when in reality I was just confronting the issue at hand… nothing else.

    It is hard to be both friend and disciple…..and we do have to choose… sometimes its very hard, but I tell you, I had such a peace after it was over and i hung up….

    We should not let our loved ones keep on in unhealthy behavior or way of thinking when it doesnt just harm her but other too……

    I realized loving someone does mean confronting issues that are ugly…. The sad thing… they don’t always receive it as that…

    I did worry about my friend after the conversation. I know her well and knew she was probably stewing over the entire thing…..angry and probably bitter… not seeing what was brought up, but again… thinking the worst….. her words were I’m shocked and taken aback…… and just don’t see it… and apologized….. I had to again say it wasn’t about the apology. It was about making her aware so she could try and make a positive change and hopefully allow God to work in her heart and those issues that make her behave that way…….

    Still to this day I do not think she truly realizes my true intensions…. im sure the relationship is straned….

    but I know it was the correct thing to do, and I only did it because I love her, and want to see her as Christ sees her…. for her to see she can be more of who she is and made complete in Christ….He can heal her hurts and change that irrational behavior into peace….lack of trust and insecurities into trust and confidence…. That is my prayer for her…

    I pray for her nightly, that some day it will be revealed how much I do love her, and want only the best!

    Your post blessed me and I think I went overboard explaining that…. But it hit true to home for me. Boy did it ever! I know you don’t know me or I you…. But I felt compelled to share….

    In Christ, Lisawa

  2. Gucci Little Piggy

    Lisawa, thanks so much for sharing. Sometimes taking the disciple route means bumps and bruises but it truly is the better path. I’m glad to know you’re walking it.


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