Relationships are Purpose Partners: An Interview with Dharius Daniels


Dharius DanielsWhat relational model did Jesus use when he selected the 12 disciples? What are the biblical principles that teach how to assess your relationships, define them, discern them, align them, and activate them to unlock their greatest potential?

Bible Gateway interviewed Dharius Daniels (@Dhariusdaniels) about his book, Relational Intelligence: The People Skills You Need for the Life of Purpose You Want (Zondervan, 2020).

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What do you mean when you write, “Your greatest gifts walk into your life on two legs”?

Dharius Daniels: When I say gift, I mean something that adds value to a person’s life; it’s an expression of value from the giver and it adds value to the receiver. So, I believe the greatest gifts that God gives to us are people, not possessions, because when the rubber meets the road, who we have in our life is much more significant than what we have.

How are relationships “purpose partners”?

Dharius Daniels: I believe relationships are purpose partners because I believe purpose isn’t just about what we do. Purpose is also about who we become. Therefore, relationships shape us into becoming someone and who we become ultimately impacts whether or not we carry out our purpose. People in our life don’t always help us do something, but they do help us become someone, and in that sense, people are purpose partners.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, The Profound Impact of Relationships on Your Life]

What need do you see that prompted you to write this book?

Dharius Daniels: I saw that people’s greatest joy and greatest pain came from the same place and that was relationships. I saw that people’s uprising and many people’s downfalls came from relationship and I figured if something is so consequential in our life, we can’t afford to be unintelligent in the way that we manage them.

What are the categories in which people should define their relationships?

Dharius Daniels: There are 4 categories in which people should define their relationships and that is: friends, associates, assignments, and advisers.

Friends would be people where there’s a mutual interest in being present for each other, supporting one another, and doing life with each other.

An associate is someone you’ve developed a relationship with, but the relationship is merely the consequence of intersecting schedules, where we work together, we go to school together, or we attend the same gym, and as a result, we have a relationship. But the kind of reciprocity that’s present in a friendship may not be present with an associate.

An assignment is quite simply a mentee, an advisee, someone you feel called to help, coach, or mentor.

An adviser is an individual that is mentoring, advising, or coaching you.

How do you suggest people should discern their relationships?

Dharius Daniels: I think Jesus gives us very clear instructions on how to discern relationships, and that’s by fruit inspection. He says we know a tree by the fruit it bears—and I use the word fruit inspection intentionally—because the goal of fruit inspection is not to judge whether or not it’s a good tree or bad tree; the goal of fruit inspection is to discern what kind of tree it is and whether or not that’s the tree you want or need in your life. I think often times, people don’t do a lot of discerning because they confuse discerning with judging.

What are some examples from the Bible of purposeful relationships?

Dharius Daniels: I think the Bible is filled with examples of purposeful relationships. Barak and Deborah is an example of a purposeful relationship. Paul and Barnabas is an example of a purposeful relationship. David and Jonathan is an example of a purposeful relationship. Moses and Aaron is an example of a purposeful relationship and obviously Jesus and the disciples are examples of purposeful relationships.

What lessons can we learn from bad relationships described in the Bible?

Dharius Daniels: Quite simply, we can learn from the Bible that bad relationships are either destructive or they’re distractions. Solomon is an example of this as his bad relationships were both destructive and distracting. Some of the women he got into a relationship with turned his heart from God, so it wasn’t immediately destructive, but it was a distraction that ended up causing destruction in his life.

How is self-assessment necessary in all relationships?

Dharius Daniels: Self-assessment is necessary in all relationships, because if a person is not constantly aware of who they are and where they’re going, they won’t be able to accurately assess who they need and don’t need in their life.

What is a favorite Bible passage of yours and why?

Dharius Daniels: 1 Corinthians 15:33—“Don’t be misled, bad company corrupts good character.” That’s one of my favorite Bible passages and the reason why is, one, it’s practical, and then two, it’s one of my favorites because the fact that Paul says don’t be misled lets me know it’s possible to be unaware of the bad impact that a relationship is having on you. I think it’s a call to humility; a call to self-assessment—relationship assessment—and I think it’s a call to relational intelligence.

What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway, the Bible Gateway App or Bible Audio App?

Dharius Daniels: For me, personally, it’s a resource that I use for my own study. There are a number of different features on there that are valuable for my personal life. It’s also an incredible resource for me professionally as a pastor, as it helps me create sermons and content. I think it’s a necessary resource for the body of Christ because the Scriptures are clear; people do perish for lack of knowledge. is a portal; a resource with knowledge that we need to help us become who God called us to be.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Dharius Daniels: I’d like to say thank you, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this platform and I hope that this interview helps people in their relational life.

Relational Intelligence is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.

Bio: Dr. Dharius Daniels is the founder and lead pastor of Change Church, a vibrant, diverse congregation. With a doctorate in ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary, Dr. Daniels speaks to national audiences. He’s the author of Relational Intelligence: The People Skills You Need for the Life of Purpose You Want and Re-Present Jesus: Rethink Your Version of Christianity and Become More Like Christ. He lives with his wife, Shameka, and their two sons in New Jersey.

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