Discipleship has come to mean different things to different groups. Today, we’ll break down what the Scriptures say about discipleship, and we’ll even give you a 5-point checklist to help you spot (or make) a disciple.
Disciples of Christ take on many forms.
They are often disguised as bus drivers, stay-at-home parents, teachers, or insurance agents. And because of World Impact’s work in every corner of the country and around the world, we know that Jesus’ disciples can also be disguised as ex-convicts, former gang members, and live in communities of poverty.
Their identity is not what you see on the outside; they are first and foremost disciples of Christ.
More on discipleship: A Culture of Disciple-Making.
What Jesus Said About Discipleship
After his resurrection from the dead, Jesus declared his authority over everything. He then said:
“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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19–20 (NIV).
At the top of Jesus’ checklist after leaving the tomb was to order his apostles to make disciples of all nations. During his earthly ministry, Jesus calls twelve apostles to follow him, and to:
- “Be with him and that he might send them out to preach” Mark 3:14 (NIV)
- Take up their cross and follow Him
- “Hate” their own lives
- “Count the cost”
- Flip their priorities (Luke 14:26-33)
Needless to say, becoming a disciple wasn’t a small thing. This was an assignment like no other!
And yet, every single day at World Impact, we see individuals choosing to take on that assignment and become disciples.
For example, we celebrate the faith of Shampayne, a disciple of Christ who was once disguised as an angry victim of abuse and neglect.
Read more: Uncover the truth about Redemptive Poverty Work.
After decades of abuse and unsettled living, and then experiencing separation from her 4 children, she “woke up” and started the healing process—both in her daily life and her faith in Jesus.
Now, not only does she serve as a chaplain in her local police department, but is also a Human Relations Commissioner, a precinct chairwoman, and has planted a church. She says:
“All of my pain, all of my abuse, all of my dysfunction, was for a purpose. My mission in life is for other girls to realize that they can have a purpose for their pain.”
Learn more about Shampayne’s story on our website.
Do you want to walk through the steps of discipleship? Use the checklist below to begin your discipleship journey, or use it to help someone else on theirs!
5 Quick Ways To Spot a Disciple
- Love one another.
Followers would prove to be his disciples if they loved one another as Christ loved them. (John 13:34-35)
- Bear much fruit.
In both character and ministry, live attached to the Vine and bear much fruit. (John 15:8)
- Acknowledge Jesus is King.
Hold Jesus with supreme allegiance — above family, kin, or nation. (Matt. 10:34-39)
- Give up everything for Him.
In God’s economy, we give up everything — and then gain everything. (John 12:24-26)
- Equip others.
As we walk with the Master, we equip and train other disciples to do the same. (2 Tim. 2:2; Luke 6:40)
For thousands of years, believers in Christ have been challenged to live as Jesus’ disciples in their own generation — by laying a solid foundation in a local church, and being formed by the Gospel for spiritual maturity and compelling witness.
One of my mentors instilled in me the idea of disciple-making being the currency of God’s Kingdom and the key to lives being changed.
He was right! I’ve seen it happen many times before—in women like Shampayne and countless other souls. They might be disguised as typical citizens, but in reality, they’re equipped to radically change the world with the message of Christ.
Use the checklist above and start embracing your true identity today—a disciple of Jesus.