From the beginning, let me be clear. I am not trying to judge or brand anyone. I am simply asking a question for mutual self-assessment. Allow me to clarify the terms:
- CONVERT. The root of the word points toward “one who turns” or “one who changes.” A convert has turned away from sin and self toward Jesus. For our purposes, a convert made the critical first step of turning but did not continue in that direction. They did not grow further in their understanding of Jesus and His demands. Many Christians remain here for a lifetime.
- DISCIPLE. The root of the word points toward “learner” or “follower.” A disciple is a convert who made the critical second step of choosing to follow the ways and leading of Jesus. Time spent with Jesus changes Christians in thoughts, attitudes, and actions throughout their lifetime making them more like Him. Many Christians remain here for a lifetime.
- DISCIPLE-MAKER. The point of the term is multiplication. A disciple-maker is one who makes the critical third step of investing in others to follow the ways and leading of Jesus. Jesus commanded His disciples (historical and present-day) to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). All converts and disciples are commanded to join in the effort to make disciples. Too few Christians are obedient to this command. By the way, a disciple-maker will continue as a perpetual learner (disciple) as well.
The separations between the terms are somewhat fuzzy. But with the understanding shared here, where are you? What next step do you need to make to join Jesus in his disciple-making vision for our world? Choose to turn, follow, and make disciples!
For more ideas about disciple-making check out these blog posts: