In the next few blogs we are going to talk about Jesus’ Style of making disciples.
The word disciple is found 267 times in the New Testament.
The word Christian is found 3 times in the New Testament.
The word disciple (mathetes) is translated literally as a “learner.”
My simple definition is, “Discipleship is a decision to follow Christ followed by a daily walk.”
In Matthew 11:28 Jesus said to His disciples “Come to Me,” and in Matthew 4:19, “Follow Me.” This denotes the beginning of discipleship (the choice to follow) and the continuing response to being a disciple (following).
The first component of Jesus’ discipleship style was to begin a personal, close up relationship with us…come to Me. He did not say come to a creed or a religion or a set of rules or a philosophy but “come to Me.” We must never forget that being a Christian, a disciple is a personal relationship with Christ. Christian discipleship starts with coming to Christ by experiencing salvation. After this we follow Christ by walking with Him day by day.
Discipleship is both personal and public. It is comprised of our private daily walk of prayer, fasting, worship, and studying God’s Word. These are all things that people don’t see us doing. Then there is the public part of witness, ministry, and serving. These are things that are visible. Some have called this our “journey inward” and our “journey outward.” Discipleship is both.
I have discovered that the closer I get to Christ in my inward journey, the more He moves me out of my comfort zones in serving others, my outward journey.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Paul writes, “Encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” Paul saw discipleship as an intensely personal activity of two or more people who encourage and build each other up in the faith. Most churches attempt to do this through some type of group; Sunday School classes, small groups, home groups, Discipleship groups, men and women’s groups, etc. The key is to be “in relationship” with some other people for the purpose of spiritual growth and accountability. These relationships are characterized by authenticity, encouragement, serving, and building each other up in Christ. Are you in a group like that?
This “small group” method is what Jesus used as he trained His disciples. He spent three years getting them ready to change the world. Discipleship takes time. It is not instant. Discipleship is something you are not just something you do. It is maturing in the faith, sharing your faith, and ministering to people. When you think about it, every Christian is both a disciple and a discipler in the context of all his Christian relationships. There are people we can disciple and there are people who can teach and disciple us.
We have the opportunity to help our children, our friends, and other believers grow in Christ through a caring and committed relationship with them.
Someone must take the step to get this going. Maybe the Lord is calling you to start a discipleship ministry in your church or even to start one group in your church or home that models what Jesus did and pray that this process multiplies.