Our mandate is to make disciples
The problem is that the term disciple is not common today. What is a disciple? How can we make disciples if we are not clear what one is?
We set out a number of years ago determined to clearly define what a disciple is so that our church would stay on mission. We searched the Bible for a clear definition and discovered how Jesus’ disciple John addressed the early church in 1 John 2. He wrote, “I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.”
From these 2 verses we saw a progression of a follower of Jesus and determined to define a disciple as:
- Born Again
Jesus said in John 3:3, “Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”’ The first step to becoming a disciple is to first begin following Him and “declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
- Little Children
Little children are completely dependent on others to feed them, teach them, and clean up after their messes. In the same way a New Believer is dependent on others to feed them the Word, to teach them how to pray and connect with God, and to give them grace when they make mistakes.
- Young Men
John also addressed members of the church he called young men. Young men are independent. They have the ability to feed themselves and are strong. In the same way believers who remain in the Word will grow strong and will learn how to feed themselves on the Word, in prayer, and in worship. They become strong and overcome temptation, discouragement, and the evil one.
Fathers are those who are now responsible for others. They feed others, teach others, and help others grow up. This is the ultimate goal and defines what it means to be a complete disciple. The Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 4:15 that the problem with the church in Corinth was that they didn’t have enough fathers. We strive to be a church who produces disciples who disciple others.