3 Simple Components To Discipleship
As a quick review for all of you dedicated church leaders (and churchgoers) out there, let’s remember that discipleship isn’t fellowship dinners, missions trips, retreats, seminars, and workshops.
It’s not Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings and it’s not hanging out with an older Christian who knows a lot about the Bible. While these may all fall under the umbrella of discipleship elements—the “fruit of discipleship” if you will—they are not out and out discipleship as Jesus demonstrated.
So what is it, then?
We first need to consider what a disciple is. The dictionary defines a disciple as “one who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another,” so an evangelical believer in Jesus Christ would be a disciple. Discipleship would then be the way that one helps others embrace and assist in the teachings of another.
This differs from evangelism in that evangelism seeks to bring new believers to the faith; discipleship seeks to help those who already believe to fully embrace their faith.
Here are some simple ways to help others grow as disciples based on biblical practices:
Learn & Obey God’s Word
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’”—John 8:31-32
Those who dwell in God’s Word are the true followers of Jesus—He said it Himself. If you’re planning to “disciple” somebody, you need to be rooted in scripture so that you can be Christ’s disciple first and someone else’s helper second.
Build an Authentic Relationship
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”—Acts 2:42
When we’re devoted to learning more about God, love, a fruit of the Spirit, inevitably pours out from us. Commit to serving God through discipleship by loving God and loving each other. Once you see this as a service to the Lord—not as a service to man—your relationship will be authentic and fellowship, communion, and prayer will naturally follow.
Help them with Ministry
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ Jesus never asked anyone to do or be anything which first He had not demonstrated in His own life. “ –Ephesians 4:11-17
Jesus gave his apostles the “work of ministry;” likewise, we are called to the same work if we truly consider ourselves to be His disciples. Once again, this is work that we do out of love for God, not out of obligation, legalism, or pressure from man.