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Christian discipleship

Christian discipleship

The Greek word for "disciple" translates as "follower." A disciple was someone who dedicated their life and time to learning from someone and then passing on their knowledge to others.

The final words of Jesus in the New Testament encapsulate the key qualities of discipleship. We read in what Christians refer to as the Great Commission "'All authority in heaven and on earth has been entrusted to me,' Jesus said to them. Make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all I have commanded you. And lo, I am with you always, to the end of time.'" Matthew 28:18–20

The primary directive of the Great Commission is to "create disciples." There are three distinct sections. To begin, a disciple is someone who is willing to "go" and create disciples of others. The early followers of Jesus openly preached the news of the risen Jesus, often experiencing severe persecution. Within a century, though, churches had sprouted up all over the Mediterranean.

Second, disciples invite people they meet to be baptized. Baptism symbolizes acceptance of Christ and a pledge to follow His teachings. While baptism does not rescue a person, it is a public declaration of loyalty to Christ and willingness to engage in Christian discipleship.

Third, a disciple teaches others about Jesus' way of life. While only a few believers are exceptional teachers, all believers are called to share what they know about Jesus with others who are growing in their understanding of Christ.

The account of the first church in Acts 2:42-47 is an important early example of this method of making disciples. Discipleship was a holistic process that includes relationship development, financial giving, prayer, learning, worship, and every aspect of life, rather than just academics. As we read, "And they committed themselves to the apostles' teaching and companionship, as well as the breaking of bread and prayers. And awe descended on every soul, and many wonders and signs were performed by the apostles. And all who believed were gathered together and shared everything. And they were selling their assets and stuff and distributing the cash to anyone who needed it. And they received their meal with cheerful and charitable hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people, day by day, attending the temple together and eating bread in their homes. And the Lord added to their number those who were being saved on a daily basis."

The impact that the first church made on its neighborhood is very significant. We're told that because of its emphasis on Christian discipleship, new people are saved on a daily basis. True Christian discipleship, as it has been said, is the best kind of outreach.

Christian discipleship is more than a program or a set of actions. Rather, it is a continuous process of development. A person devotes his or her entire life to Jesus and dedicates himself or herself to studying His methods while also going, sharing, and teaching this way of life to others.


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