I often talk and preach on discipleship, being a disciple, and discipleship making, but what do those words mean exactly? Well, let’s talk about it.
A disciple is someone who is following Jesus, being changed by Jesus, and is committed to the mission of Jesus. (Matt. 4:19)
Disciple making is entering into relationships in order to help people trust and follow Jesus, which includes the whole process from conversion, to maturity, to multiplication. (Matt. 28:19-20)
Discipleship is the state of being a disciple.
A disciple maker is a disciple of Jesus, who enters into relationships with people to help them trust and follow Jesus.
Matt. 4:19, Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (ESV).
So here is a good definition of a disciple. Notice the 3 parts.
A disciple is: 1. following Jesus, 2. being changed by Jesus and 3. committed to the mission of Jesus.
Let’s look at our definition of being a disciple. If people are following Jesus, being changed by Jesus, and committed to the mission of Jesus, then they are biblical disciples.
Disciple Making – entering into relationships to help people to trust and follow Jesus
It’s preferable to use the terms “making disciples” or “disciple making” because these words are found in the Bible. “Making disciples” describes what Jesus meant in Matthew 28:19-20:
So, when Jesus fed the 5,000, could Jesus have counted all of those as His disciples? I don’t think so. Look at our definition again. Jesus did help the people to trust and follow Him, but he didn’t enter into a relationship with each person, so they weren’t really his disciples. Jesus did enter into relationship with several men over his three years of ministry. Those were his 12 disciples.
So, let’s enter into relationships with people to help them trust and follow Jesus. That is why God has left us here on earth, to be disciple makers.