Defining words and ideas down to easy to remember phrases can be difficult especially when we interpret the same words in different ways in church or in campus ministry. In our campus ministry (Impact Campus Ministries) we describe the word disciple in 6 words.
Disciple: Submitted to Jesus, becoming like Him
Simply, a disciple is someone who has submitted to Jesus and seeks to be more like Jesus every day. This is a lifelong journey, and it doesn’t end at age 30, or 55, or 75. No matter who we are and where we are in our faith, we can always become more like Jesus today than we were yesterday.
That brings me to the word discipleship. We define it at Impact as imitating a mentor who imitates Christ.
For a first century Jew, to follow a rabbi meant to “be covered with the dust of his feet.” When Jesus called His disciples, it was implied that they would begin this process of becoming like Him by following closely in His footsteps. They would try to imitate everything Jesus did to become like the Jesus in his walk with God.
Paul himself says in 1 Corinthians 11:1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
Or Hebrews 13:7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.
Now with this is also a call to step up to the plate. We are called to look for others who are stronger and further along in the faith to imitate. Paul said to imitate him only as he imitates Christ. This fits in well with the example from History of the disciple following his rabbi closely.
Who are you imitating?
The next challenge then is who are we discipling and what do they see in us that they imitate? That might be a bit scarier to think about. If we were to step back and see our whole day laid out before us, are there things we wouldn’t want others to imitate because they were not Christ-like? That is part of the growing process, casting aside the things that are not of Jesus.
Focus Text For The Day
We often look at Matthew 28:19-20 as an evangelism passage but I believe it to be a discipleship passage. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” This sounds a lot like imitating a mentor who imitates Jesus. Just as Jesus was the teacher to his disciples, they were to go and make disciples who would imitate them, keeping the commands and the teachings of Jesus just like they did.
Who are you discipling?