STEP ONE – What is a disciple?

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This training is intended for anyone who wants to make disciples for Jesus. The purpose then is to have a unified definition of what a disciple is. The reason why we need to have a unified definition of a disciple is, because we need to know what we are aiming for. Someone once said, “if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it.” Knowing what we are aiming for will determine the target that we hit.

If we don’t have the ability to communicate to people what it means to follow Jesus, then we will keep creating what we are shooting for. That would then be a different definition for everybody. You could ask fifty people in a church, “what does it mean to follow Jesus?”, and you will get fifty different answers.

If you ask, “what is a Christian?”, people would have different check lists. Therefore, it is important that we have a very simple clear way to communicate to people what it means to follow Jesus. We find the definition of a disciple in Matthew 4:19, ““Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Following Jesus, changed by Jesus, on a mission with Jesus. Following Jesus means that He is alive. Jesus is alive, and He is your King. You are following Him, and He is changing you and He has changed your life, and you are on a mission with Him and His purposes.

The problem is that many people believe in Jesus, but not many are following Him. Following Jesus means that He is actively speaking into my life, guiding me and teaching me. You cannot go with Jesus and stay the way you are. A disciple’s life cannot be the same as an unbeliever.

When Jesus says, “pick up your cross and follow me,” it is going to cost you something. To follow Jesus, you will have to be changed and you will be on mission with Him. Mission assumes three. When I disciple my children, someday they will disciple their children. And as I’m thinking about my children, I’m also thinking about my grandchildren. What I pass on is what they are going to pass on.

The mission has to do with fishing for men. Whatever we do needs to be reproduceable. Whatever we hand off, needs to be easily handed off to the next person. If what we give you is so complicated and you can’t pass it on, then it is not mission minded. It is going to stop with you. It is one generation deep.

If what we do is very simple, very clear and reproduceable, then they are able to take what we have taught them and give it to someone else. They will be able to act on the truths that we are teaching.

We don’t want a group of people that meets forever. It will become a never-ending group therapy. We want the Kingdom of God to spread. We want lives to be changed. We want people to be able to reach out to their children, their neighbours and their friends. So that they would go and start another group and reach those people for Jesus.

When any one of these (follow, changed, mission) is missing, you lose something. You don’t want someone to be big on mission, but their lives are not changed. They will make a lot of bad copies.

People do start out by following you. Paul said, “follow me as I follow Christ.” He was inviting people to follow him. In the same way the disciples were called by Jesus to go and make disciples of Jesus. And as we make disciples we need to realise that we are inviting people into our lives. They are going to copy and learn from us.

It really raises the bar when we define what a disciple is. We realise, we need to follow God and we need to be changing and we need to be on mission, because people are watching, and they are going to do what we do. You are going to be the model that is going to be passed on to the next generation.

All of us are called and empowered by the Holy Spirit to reach the world for Jesus one person at a time. We do that when we are all focused on the same thing, going in the same direction, trying to make disciples just like Jesus said.

The call from Jesus to make disciples is in Matthew 28:19-20, 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

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