One of the very
last things that Jesus did was to tell His disciples to make more disciples
(Matthew 28:18-20). What is
discipleship? Discipleship is teaching
someone to follow a person or a belief system.
In Christianity, Christian disciples follow the teaching and ways of Jesus Christ the Messiah, who is God. He became a man, being born of a virgin, and died on the cross and was resurrected three days later. Those who turn away from sin and turn to God, believing in their heart that Jesus was raised from the dead and follow Him as their Lord and Savior become Christians, disciples of Jesus Christ.
disciple of Christ certainly means that the disciple must learn the teachings
in the Bible. At minimum, the disciple
should be taught: the foundational teachings in Hebrews 6:1-2; righteousness,
prayer and communication with God; and how to read and study the Bible. The disciple should also be baptized, be in
fellowship with other Christians in a small group or church, learn to minister
and be ministered to in the power of the Holy Spirit, and learn to share their
faith with others.
The main focus of a disciple’s life should not be on what they do. The focus should primarily be on knowing and loving God and others, as well as growing in character. That character development should reflect the fruit of the Spirit which are listed in Galatians 5:22-23. One of the attributes in the passage that should be present and growing in a Christian’s life is love, which is more fully described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Other good character traits are also included in Jesus’ sermon on the mount in Matthew 5-7.
A Christian should also be able to teach others how to follow Jesus as a disciple. There are many evangelism methods available to Christians, who can learn as many as they think they need. With these methods, knowing and understanding the verses above, and growing in the character described above, a Christian is well equipped to make other disciples. They can then teach those disciples how to properly follow God and to make even more disciples.
The process of
successful discipleship should not be viewed simply as making a disciple, but
rather as making a disciple that makes disciples. If the initial Christian is considered
generation one, and their disciple is considered generation two, then the
production of generation three is essentially a confirmation that much of the
teaching is being properly transmitted and received, especially if the
character of generation three is conforming more and more closely to the verses
describing character above.
Keywords: discipleship, relationship, God, fruitful, minimum standards, sustainable