Ok, not literally but this is an acronym for three words that help discern which relationships we should be fostering. Let’s be real, no one is close with all 482 friends they have on Facebook, and there is no way any of us have any real dialogue through Twitter feeds, LinkedIn walls, Instagram posts, or by watching each other’s YouTube channels.

That’s why I engage this acronym during my prayer time: so that I can identify what relationships to invest in and how to interact with each person.

Here’s what D.I.P. stands for: Develop a Timothy, Impact like a Barnabas, and Pursue a Paul.

Those are the guidelines I use and recommend for navigating through the large number of people we meet daily and through social media.

“Developing a Timothy” is about imparting wisdom on others. In the New Testament, Timothy was an official delegate of Paul. He was a representative of Paul, who could not himself be at the church he sent Timothy to. The letters written to Timothy were Paul’s instructions on how to care for the flock, proper conduct for members and ministers, church administration, and the order in which the church should perform.

Timothy was young but also anointed and trustworthy enough for Paul to send him out to help the churches establish order and to communicate specific principles regarding the structure of the church. So how do we develop our own Timothy?

We should find those that are young or at least younger Christians than ourselves and instruct them in the ways of the Lord. Provide them with compassion and grace while instructing them with wisdom from God. We do not have to be a pastor to share what we have learned; we just have to listen to instruction, meditate on scripture, and ask for the Holy Spirit to speak through us.

“Impact like a Barnabas” is following the example Barnabas set throughout the book of Acts, where we see consistent examples of Barnabas giving, encouraging and connecting. In Acts chapter 4, he sold his property and donated all of the proceeds to the disciples in Jerusalem. This great gift from Barnabas is not always put into context. Barnabas was from a wealthy family in Cyprus and his land had been passed down from generations before him; it was lake front property, rich in minerals and soil. A comparable example today would be a California vineyard or thousands of acres along Lake Tahoe. While the Bible does not give the exact value of the property. it is safe to say that when he sold it, Barnabas did not donate 10%. Instead, he gave it all to the first church.

Then in Acts chapter 9, Barnabas serves as an advocate for Saul, also known as Paul. Initially, the disciples were afraid of Saul, but Barnabas told them about Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. He encouraged the disciples to trust in Saul and spoke about his preaching in the name of Jesus.

Finally, Barnabas was a connector. In Acts chapter 11, the church in Antioch was on fire for the Lord and when Barnabas was sent to investigate, he recognized the need for Paul to connect with and develop the members, so for a year he and Paul taught great numbers of people in Antioch.

“Pursue a Paul” with a passion and a desire to change the world. Find a mentor, leader or pastor that is willing to develop your skills and character through accountability, knowledge, and encouragement.

This requires submission to a covering, which is a lesson of its own, but for our purposes here, we should commit learning from our “Paul’’ or mentor. Quarterly mentoring is not enough. We should closely watch what this person does, acquire an understanding of how they think, and observe how they handle problems and challenges. If we find our Paul and grow to live like him, the grace of Jesus will always be upon us.

When we meet someone, we should remember to “Do the D.I.P.,’’ always having a peaceful heart and listening with the intent to understand them. Then, in our private prayer time, we should ask God to reveal whether or not meeting this person was a D.I.P appointment: are we to develop, impact, or pursue that person for the sake of God’s kingdom.

If the answer is no, then it’s easy. Be polite, demonstrate grace, and fulfill promises we’ve made to this person. But if the answer is yes, then be deliberate about the relationship and make sure the dialogue and the interactions are a two-way street.

Doing the D.I.P. can not only enhance our walks with The Lord Jesus Christ but it can strengthen and develop the faith of others as well.

John Quintanilla is founder of the Leaders Activating More Believers by the Spirit (LAMBS Project), which focuses on providing fund raising, spiritual development, and business strategies for Jesus Christ centered ministries. He is currently the President of The K.I.N.G. Movement in San Antonio and the President of the Volunteer Council for Texas Youth in San Antonio. John is passionate about Latino social issues as they relate to faith in Jesus Christ and restoring broken families through the power of the Holy Spirit. For info about K.I.N.G. San Antonio visit their page on SynergyScape