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What is a Disciple and How Do We Make Them?

I would like to suggest that two of the most important questions followers of Jesus will need to answer along their Journey with Him are:

1) What is a disciple?

2) How is one to make them?

Given that Jesus’ famous last words were to “go into all the world and make disciples,” these questions deserve our time and consideration.

As I have thought about these questions and posed them to others, I’ve noticed more questions come like these:  Do we make disciples by “getting people to go to church?”  Do we make disciples by doing a bible study with someone?  By just living out our faith the best we can?

Some wrestle, too, with the questions that come through being married.  How do we engage in this mission of making disciples together with our spouse?  Couples can find themselves running in different directions—doing their best to keep their own family together while managing their commitments to their friends, family and yes, even their church activities without a plan for disciple-making.

It is surprising to me how long I was able to go on as a Christian without ever really taking time to address these two important questions.  For most of my life walking with Jesus, I’ve ended up doing a bunch of spiritual stuff (meetings, programs, etc) with the hope that some of it sticks on the wall of discipleship.  I do believe that, despite me, God has probably used some of my frenzied activity to make disciples. As of late, however, I have been under the conviction to allow the answers I find in Scripture about the Great Commission (What is a disciple and how am I supposed to make them?) to dictate my time and activities.

For me, the simple church journey is one in the same with the journey of becoming a disciple and making disciples and I pray that it is for you as well.  If you are unable to look to Jesus and the Scriptures and see a clear connection between making disciples like Jesus did and simple church, then I’m afraid you could simply be doing religious stuff because someone (perhaps me) has made you feel that you should.  My prayer is that everyone who decides to join the simple journey will eventually do so because they desire to make disciples in a similar fashion as Jesus did.  Furthermore, they are able to clearly see that imitating Jesus’ plan for making disciples naturally and organically leads to something very similar to simple church.

I look forward to sharing my answers to these questions with you in the near future .  But what about your answers?  What is a disciple?  How are you (and your spouse?) making disciples?  I would love for you to share your thoughts on this below.


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6 thoughts on “What is a Disciple and How Do We Make Them?”

  1. Good post! I’m looking forward to reading your answers…

    Here are mine: A disciple of Jesus Christ is a person who is indwelled by the Holy Spirit and living according to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We “make disciples” when we help people follow Jesus: strengthening them as they trust God, showing them how and providing opportunities for them to serve others to demonstrate God’s love, uniting them with other disciples (in spite of differences or disagreements), and guiding them as they disciple others. It’s a life long and mutual process.


    1. Amen Alan, a disciple, as a follower of Christ, is indwelled by the Holy Spirit and living according to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must shepherd and feed people in order for them to be nourished and to follow. The Lord Jesus asked Peter, Do you love me? Then, feed my lambs, shepherd my sheep, feed my sheep…it seems we must continually be eating our entire lives, in the same way we offer spiritual food in our shepherding and discipling.

  2. Pingback: Can’t we let someone else think about discipleship for us? | The Assembling of the Church

  3. I hear your heart here brother and I too continually find myself evaluating my activities in light of God’s purpose for my (our)life. I have come to believe that a disciple is simply a follower or life learner of Jesus. The “making” or becoming of disciples comes in the revealing of Jesus. God desiring to reconcile with and forgive us through Jesus that we may enter into that sweet society. If someone believes and follows they have “become” or are “made” a disciple. I would like to ask a question that may sound odd but I am sincerely interested in your answer. I have always balked a little at the framing of Mat 28 as the “great commission”. The scripture does not seem to add import to this statement above any other by Jesus. Jesus said and the disciples affirmed the great love commandment as the most important thing that Jesus taught. He taught much more in the fleshing out of the Love Charge but neither he nor the apostles seem to prioritize Mat 28 above other instruction, for eg. the sermon on the mount or the lesson of the good Samaritan. Thank you for taking the time to write your blog. I found it through a link at the assembling of the church.

    1. Tom, I’m a few years late on replying here, but I really identify with what you are saying here… I’m not sure at the time that I wrote this I may have grasped the full weight of what you are saying here, but many head into this I do now! Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.

  4. Great topic and one that we need to learn from each other. I am at the point in the Christian faith, that the more simple we can make it the better it can be. In America there are thousands of books written on this topic by godly men and women, but for some reason, the church in America is 2000 miles wide and sadly about a half inch deep. Community was designed, as I see it, for we who are brothers and sisters to take care of one another. “As we go” we are to make disciples. Another scriptural reference that was mentioned was where Jesus, after the resurrection , asked Peter, “Do you love me? Then feed my sheep.” Discipleship isn’t primarily about the feed, nor whether we even like sheep. It is a heart issue of loving our Lord. Simple?

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