Posted tagged ‘What is a Disciple?’

Revisiting Discipleship (Definitions Matter)

May 21, 2012

It is commonly said that if aim at nothing you will hit it every time. The aim of biblical discipleship begins with understanding the nature of a disciple. What is a disciple of Jesus Christ? How do you define that? Without definition, there cannot be direction; without direction, there cannot be devotion.

So last Saturday night, I pitched the question on Twitter, asking people to define a disciple of Jesus by answering the question “What is a disciple of Jesus?” in 140 characters or less. To give you an idea of why definitions matter, let me provide you a sampling of some of the responses:

A slave.

Someone who has turned away from sin, and trusted in Jesus. And who keeps doing so.

Sitting at His Feet and eating His Word and living your life for Christ!

Life touching life.

[Someone who] follows Jesus, being changed by Jesus, committed to the mission Jesus.

A disciple of Jesus Christ is one loved by Jesus, bought by Jesus, taught of Jesus, dying to self and living by faith in Jesus.

One who is affected by the saving Cross of Christ in such a way as to strive to emulate the character of Christ in faith+works.

One who seeks to see from gods perspective, be in his presence and live out his purposes.

Bought by His blood so I glorify God with my mind and body to spread the fame of His Name that others may know the same gift.

5 Solas saved sinner: Joyfully submitted, faithfully obedient, content & thankful 2b dead 2 self & alive in Christ.

One who reads their Bible and does what it says.

Someone who is listening, learning, and leading others to the Word of God, the Son.

Someone who has been born into the kingdom by way of the gospel & who now loves, learns from, and leads others to the king.

One who now has the story of the gospel written in pencil, waiting for that day for it to be written in stone.

One who delights in and finds his deepest joy in Jesus Causing him to devote his life to pursuing that joy, living in community & on mission.

There are some common threads to this list of definitions, but there’s a lot of differences too. Granted, you can’t say everything you want to say in 140 characters on Twitter, but there is a value in being able to define your aim in a short and succinct statement.

At the very heart of the church’s mission is to make disciples. Do we know what we are making? Are we clear on what we are developing? How we are growing people? Without a clear definition, there won’t be clear direction. Could it be that a major reason a majority of churches today are not disciple-making powerhouses is because we don’t really know what we are doing? Could it be that a simple place to start in revitalizing churches today is to get back to the fundamental question of “What is a disciple of Jesus?” and set about implementing the biblical answer to that question as the governing filter of all that we do?