Are you making disciples?

Every church must answer the question, “what is our purpose?”   The Great Commission is very clear that our purpose is to make disciples.  When we start to define what a disciple is, we typically use words like a student, an apprentice, or a follower.  But the word also carries the connotation that the knowledge gained is being taught and passed on to others.  The next question then is naturally, “what does a disciple look like?”   Once you answer these questions, then you can start designing systems and processes to ensure that you are following the Great Commission.  We are not called to just fill up the seats, we must make sure that people are coming to Jesus and growing in their faith.   In the book innovatechurch,  10 characteristics of a disciple are described from scripture.

Principles that define a disciple

  1. A disciple is someone who seriously considers the cost before following Christ (Luke 14:28)
  2. A disciple is someone who is totally committed to Christ (Luke 14:26)
  3. A disciple is someone who is willing to carry his or her individual burden to sacrifice for Christ and His cause (Luke 14:27)
  4. A disciple is someone who is willing to give up all earthly possessions (Luke 14:33)
  5. A disciple is someone who continues in God’s Word and experiences the freedom in Christ (John 8:31-32)
  6. A disciple is one who genuinely loves other believers (John 13:35)
  7. A disciple is one who abides in Christ, prays, bears fruit, and glorifies God (John 15:5-8)
  8. A disciple is one who is full of the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:52)
  9. A disciple is a servant who obediently follows the desires of the Master (Matthew 26:19)
  10. A disciple is a servant who is intimately involved in the mission of Jesus to make disciples (Matthew 28:16-20)

After looking at this list, let me ask you two questions.  How are you doing personally as a disciple?  And how is your church doing?  It can be tough to measure your effectiveness at making disciples.  The typical metrics of church attendance, giving, and professions of faith aren’t clear indicators that you are doing a good job.  We must take the time to ensure that our teachings, processes, and vision are actually accomplishing our goal of making disciples.  It’s hard to quantify life change, but that is exactly what we must strive to do.  If you are a pastor, let me challenge you to spend time looking at these characteristics of a disciple.  Then look at the ministries and programs within your church.  Is there a clear connection between the two?  If not, you know where you need to start:  Matthew 28:18-20


I am a former design engineer who now pastors Cornerstone Community Church in Galax, Virginia. I'm passionate about following Jesus and I love technology. I've been married to Jennifer for 28 years, and we have three adult children.

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1 Response

  1. Gabe Taviano says:

    Really dig this blog post Mike! I'll have to share some secret info with you in a little while on this topic. Hint – I'm writing a book. Looking forward to reading more from you!

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