In Matthew 28, just before Jesus left this earth and ascended to the Father, He stood on a mountain and sent His disciples out with a clear mission. He told them, “Go and make disciples of all nations…” We believe this is the mission not just of those first 12 disciples, but of all followers of Jesus. Every disciple is called to be a disciple-maker.
Definition of Disciple
If our mission as a church is to make disciples, we want to have a clear, biblical concept of what a disciple really is. What does it mean to be a “disciple” of Jesus? A key verse that has helped our church formulate our definition of a disciple is Matthew 4:19, where Jesus invited his first disciples to follow Him. He said to them, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.”
Based on that verse, here’s the way we define what it means to be a disciple:
“A disciple is one who knows and follows Jesus, is becoming more like Jesus, and leads the lost and saved closer to Jesus.”
There are three parts of that definition, and each part is so important:
1) A disciple “knows and follows Jesus”—it all starts with an intimate relationship with Jesus. A real disciple genuinely wants to follow Jesus on the road of life.
2) A disciple “is becoming more like Jesus”—that initial decision to trust in Christ is only the beginning! A genuine disciple will be growing in his or her walk with Jesus every day.
3) A disciple “leads the lost and saved closer to Jesus”—we can’t really be following Jesus if we’re not fishing for men, because that’s what Jesus is doing in the world! A genuine disciple desires to share with the lost and invest in the saved so that everyone they encounter will be drawn closer to Jesus.