What is an
We know that we are all called to make disciples. It’s not wrong to use the structure of the church to create pathways to disciplemaking. In fact, it’s smart. But we should never dismiss the call to personally become a truly authentic disciple who then multiplies that in others. Classroom and smaller group settings will never build the disciples Jesus commanded us to build without one-on -one accountability and encouragement. It just doesn’t happen, for most people.
The first thing we need to do is define what an authentic disciple is. Once we have our understanding of what Jesus wants us to see in His disciples, then we can develop our plan, present that lifestyle and begin to build a movement!
So What Is an Authentic Disciple?
There are many definitions of a disciple, long and short. Webster dictionary says a disciple is one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another; a convinced adherent of an individual. That’s Jesus for all of us. In the world of Biblical truth, many of us have created our own definitions of what a disciple is. Almost all of the versions are Biblical and helpful. They come from different angles. Many of us define what a disciple is, based on our own paradigm and sometimes in reaction to what we see missing in other definitions. Some of us measure all the qualities found throughout Scripture. Others of us summarize those qualities into a precise list. I personally like something that everyone, young and old, can memorize and remember. Then we can unpack that short, concise definition and build on all the details. Here’s my definition:
An authentic disciple reflects the mind, character and priorities of Christ.
He or she loves, grows, serves, evangelizes,
makes disciples and multiplies.
He or she loves God intimately, walks in the Truth and by the Spirit,
reflects the overflow of that love to God’s family and the watching world,
serves everyone, goes fishing as a lifestyle and makes multiplying disciples.
A disciple deepens and fully invests in three love relationships-
Loving God, loving the Family of God, and loving the Lost.
Becoming a disciple is often equated with helping people learn the Word of God and understand the principles of God. We teach and preach and fill minds with all kinds of information. We put people through all kinds of classes and seminars, retreats and home groups. Now, it’s so important to learn the Word and its principles. But our churches are filled with people who know everything about Jesus but they don’t look anything like Jesus! Paul makes a powerful statement in his letter to the Corinthian church (I Corinthians 13.)
“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a
faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”
It doesn’t matter how much we know and how much we believe. Paul says that if we don’t have God’s character, we have nothing! We shouldn’t minimize the need to study the Word and to know the Truth. But brilliant heretics know the Word and will quote it better than we can. The Pharisees and religious leaders who killed Jesus were students of the Word. And all of the cults use the Word. They just don’t know how to interpret it properly. And they’re taking people to hell everyday! We can’t rest on knowing God’s Word as the ultimate goal in making real disciples.
An authentic disciple reflects the mind, character and priorities of Christ. If that’s what we’re to be and to build, what does it actually mean? All of us are on a journey toward maturity. None of us is without sin. All of us fail more than we’d like to admit. But we can’t afford to lower the standard of disciplemaking to a knowledge-based proposition. So let’s look at each of these three components.
Let's dig in to each of these components and move to our PDF!