Blog: What Does It Mean To Be A Disciple?
by Bob Roberts Jr.
A disciple is another word for a student or a follower of a teacher. As Jesus followers we are to be disciples and make disciples. For the past few decades discipleship has been all about “learn, grow, and go”. In other words, when you get everything down right, you have answered all the questions, you begin to grow and then you can serve God. This isn’t how the early church made disciples. Discipleship is “hear and obey” God. If that’s your definition of discipleship, it is a game changer in terms of how you make disciples. How and why?
First, a disciple must have a connection with God where they can hear God speak. They need to hear him in the Word of God, in prayer, in community, and other ways. Listening, more than memorizing becomes the chief skill of a disciple. Learning about prayer, and, not just learning about – but spending time in prayer, is an absolute necessity. Seeing the Bible not just as a book of information, but as a living book that will speak to specific situations in people’s lives is critical. How well do you hear God? How do you hear him? Have you substituted information for transformation and communication?
Second, a disciple is someone who obeys what God says. Abraham was the ultimate disciple, he heard God. He had no Bible, no rabbi, no temple, no religious structure – just the ability to hear God’s voice and obey. Abraham also worshipped – which is hearing God – listening and responding to what he says. We tend to think that obedience is only about morality – it’s much more than that. The early church and early believers were doing so many things in following God. They were new believers and yet growing, teaching, sharing, serving, witnessing – all of it. There is something about hearing God’s voice in the moment and moving with him that is a game changer in a radical way. Mission, ministry, though we think it helps others, brings us closer to God and makes servants out of us growing us deeper in our own faith.
Third, I do not believe you can be a disciple outside of a Biblical community. Notice I didn’t say small group, bible study, etc., Those things are great – but the power of Biblical community is that you live in the context of your own culture with a sense of mission together, hearing God together, sharing the Gospel together, caring for one another, and learning God’s word together. You need all five of those in order to grow. Community is discipleship. We are the body of Christ and each part of the body must be connected or it dies. You don’t get a choice on “church” your only choice is how the “church” you attend does community.
Yes, you could add a few more things – but these three things are the most critical. It makes discipleship a lot easier and clearer.
Bob is the founder, senior leader, and chief spokesman for Glocal.net . His primary focus is to connect leaders and estabish relationships to explore transformation. Follow Bob on Twitter at @bobrobertsjr.