“Discipleship” is the most wishy-washy terms that Christians use today. Every church seems to have a different opinion on what it means, and how we should live it out.
It was a pretty regular Jewish term in Jesus’ time: Essentially, rabbis would have a disciple that followed them, learned everything from them, and lived life with them so closely that they started to look exactly like them in mannerism, in gifting, in speech and lifestyle. Jesus was referred to as a “Rabbi” 16 times in the new testament, and as a “didaskalos” or “teacher” another 63 times, which was basically the same thing.
A Rabbi, when selecting their disciple would find the BEST OF THE BEST to be their disciple, because how good their disciple was, directly reflected on how good of a Rabbi they were.
Matthew 4:18-22 18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. 21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
Jesus' disciples were normal people called out the do the work of ministry. THAT is the difference between Christian disciples and Jewish Disciples: Christian disciples are broken, messed up, regular people who want to live with Jesus, and look like Jesus.
What is a Disciple?
A follower or student of a teacher, leader, or philosopher.
We don't know how many disciples Jesus had, but he at least had more than 12.
Luke 6:12-13 12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. 13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles
We also see 72 disciples sent out in Luke 10.
Throughout the New Testament, we see many times where the church leaders would refer to a group of believers as “the disciples," and there are multiple examples of disciples of Christ, who also took disciples themselves, and started imparting wisdom on following Jesus to other people around them.
1 Corinthians 11:1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
Despite churches today sometimes having a wishy-washy definition of discipleship… The core understanding of the term, “Disciple” didn’t ever change in the New Testament. A disciple follows in the footsteps of his/her Rabbi, and models his/her life after their Rabbi, in pursuit of God himself and His purposes on the Earth. Today, we just replace Rabbi with “Discipler”.
Matthew 28:19-20 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Later, in 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul models this for us as well. He tells Timothy: And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.
THAT is Discipleship!
Discipleship should be an organic, life-on-life relationship between believers spurring one another onward towards Jesus, and helping them to invest in other reliable people at the same time.
The Church's Approach to Discipleship
( Read this book, go to this class, do this thing. )
The problem with that approach is that after you read the book, do the class, etc, you almost check a box in your heart that says, “discipled" and you move on. The other big issue is that it’s 1 person pouring into everyone, which ignores scripture on investing in people who invest in people.
(Life-on-life, not organized, let the people do their thing. )
The problem can be that people slip between the cracks, and discipleship with our leaders is more complete than discipleship with others in the church.
At Living Faith, we want to land 90% of the way to the organic approach.
As well as we could, we’ve broken up what it means to follow Jesus into 10 Metrics, that we can attempt to measure and track in our lives so we have a framework for what we’re working on in Discipleship
Time with Jesus
Hopefully will help you find areas you need to work on, that will then push you to the Bible with your discipler, to learn to look like Jesus.
Online Assessment It’s 50 questions, it goes through all 10 Metrics, and it takes about 20 minutes to fill out.
After you fill it out, it will give you a PDF that lays out where you are in each of these metrics, and where you need to grow. It’ll also email a copy to your discipler, and then you ask your discipler to take the assessment on your behalf, so you can compare notes, and see where to work.
- Introduction to the Metric - List of questions for discipleship - List of Resources
This whole sermon series will go on that page, to help you with an overview of each Metric.
Each teaching in this series will consist of about: - 30 minutes of Biblical teaching on the topic - 5-10 minutes on how to BE discipled in that area - 5-10 minutes of how to disciple someone else in that area