Disciples are not super-Christians. They are followers of Jesus Christ. At the same time, disciples are more than converts. They have moved beyond profession of faith into a lifelong pursuit of living life like Jesus.
Some have come to view discipleship as a extra activity for the those who have time and interest. Instead, I counter that is is a natural and intentional response to living daily with Jesus.
Why is discipleship important? Consider these three reasons:
Last words are important. In the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), Jesus commanded us to “make disciples of all nations.” We are to do so as we are going, wherever we are. This is not an activity done only at the church building. This is a daily life exercise. He told us how: baptizing them and teaching them to obey. But of supreme importance is His reminder that “I am with you always.” We cannot carry out the Great Co-mission without Him. In fact, to do so is to attempt mission impossible.
Jesus’ own example points to the importance of doing so. His investment in twelve men over the three years of his earthly ministry proves his strategy. Jesus taught the masses and even the disciples as part of the masses (Mark 1:14). Then He prayed before calling the Twelve (Luke 6:12-13). Jesus continued to teach and train the disciples in public and private. Then He sent them out in pairs (Mark 6:7) and called for a report of their efforts (Mark 6:30). He told them they would do even greater things, and He sent them and us out to disciple all nations (Matthew 28:19-20).
When a teacher prepares a lesson, he/she grows more than those in the class. When a disciple ministers to someone in need, not only are needs met but the disciple grows. When a Christian shares his/her testimony, the hearer has an opportunity to respond, but the disciple grows as well. Disciples are more like the Sea of Galilee than the Dead Sea. They are healthy and grow because water flows in and flows out. Disciples grow because they give and invest in others for Jesus (2 Timothy 2:2).
Evaluate your personal priorities. Is discipleship on the list? What can you do this week to begin to live more like Jesus by investing in at least one other person? Pray. Observe. Do life together. Ask them to join you in ministry. Share. Mentor. Grow as a disciple as you make disciples!