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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
Pastor to Pastor

True Friends

Disciple-making requires spiritual friendship.

Growing into the Lord (2)

So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. 1 Thessalonians 2.8

Spiritual Friendship
Aelred of Rievaulx (1109-1167)
“…we say that only they are friends to whom we are not afraid to entrust our hearts and everything that is in them – to those, in turn, who are bound to us by the same law of faith and security.”

Disciples learn to trust the Lord, and one of the ways they do is by learning to trust one another. True friends share the kind of affection which leads them to give themselves to one another in a relationship of mutual trust and love. No one can be everyone’s friend. We must, as Aelred explained, be prepared to exercise good will toward all people, “For the law of grace compels us to receive not only friends, but also enemies, with heartfelt esteem.” But it’s different with friends. To them we give ourselves, without fear they will betray or despise us. And from them we receive the same. Such spiritual friendship brings to expression the oneness of the Spirit and strengthens the bonds of unity among us (Eph. 4.3), thus enhancing our experience of and witness to the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 17.21). And by practicing such trust with soul friends, we learn to trust our heavenly Friend more and more.

Do you have any true, spiritual friends from other congregations? Or with pastors of other churches in your community? Should you?

Are you a soul friend?

What is the role of soul friendship in your work of making disciples? Are you cultivating an environment of mutual friendship, caring, and encouragement, or are you just running a program? Write to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and we’ll send you a copy of our free brochure on Soul Friends. Make copies for yourself and all those you are discipling, then meet to discuss how your work together can become a fellowship of true friendship into the Lord.

Pastoral Hope Initiative
Pastor, where are you in your walk with and work for the Lord? Are you growing? Covering all the bases? Working fruitfully toward the Kingdom of God? Our Pastoral Hope Initiative can help you establish a framework and baseline for steady, fruitful growth into the Lord Jesus; and for the remainder of this spring, we’re waiving the fee for men who want to work through this 14-week protocol. Watch this brief video, then, if you’re interested, let me hear from you at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Fellowship of Ailbe is supported through the generous and faithful gifts of those who benefit from and believe in our work. Does the Lord want to use you in this way? Please look to Him in prayer over this question. You can contribute to The Fellowship of Ailbe by using the Contribute button at our website, or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452. Thank you.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
All quotations from Aelred of Rievaulx, Spiritual Friendship, tr. By Mark F. Williams (Scranton: The University of Scranton Press, 1994, 2002).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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