Church leaders converse of discipleship often, but do we know what we are talking about? Go to the Christian bookstore and you find a section on discipleship. One church lists the pastor’s sermons under the “Discipleship” tab. Is this what the “Great Commission” in Matthew 28:19 is all about?
A friend named Rick Hughes has crafted a definition that is workable in this discussion:
A disciple of Christ is an individual who exhibits an increasing Christ-likeness exemplified by an undeniable love for God and others, a vibrant prayer life, a love of Scripture, an obedient lifestyle of personal evangelism, employment of talents and personal resources, spiritual gifts and service used for the benefit of the Kingdom, consistent manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit, and extravagant worship that treasures Christ.
This is a comprehensive definition that explains the activities of a disciple very well. It captures the essence that discipleship is more than merely learning. I like the word apprentice in this context- someone studying and modeling the words, actions, and attitudes of a master.
We cannot talk about discipleship until we have a solid foundation of what it means to be a disciple of Christ. May I suggest a simple definition of a disciple? A disciple of Christ Jesus is one that follows the guidance of the Holy Spirit to accomplish whatever He wants, when He wants it, using whatever method, tool, or avenue in which He desires. Discipleship is leading others to do the same.
What is your definition of a disciple or discipleship? Post it in the comments below and we will analyze this topic together.