What does a disciple look like?
Clarifying and simplifying the definition of a disciple is critical if your church is going to be committed to making disciples. You can’t have a fuzzy vision of your end product. That is what a disciple is—it’s the end product of a church.
Just as a tire factory produces tires or a computer factory builds computers, healthy churches make disciples. We need clear specs on what a disciple looks like, especially if Jesus is going to be the one evaluating the quality of our work (I Corinthians 3.12-13).
Paul’s end product was Christ-like followers.
The Apostle Paul was very clear on what he was trying to produce in the life of every person he met and every church he planted. See if you can pick up on Paul’s end product.
To the church at Rome he wrote; “for those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first born among many brothers” (Romans 8.29). To the churches in Galatia he wrote, “…I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!” (Galatians 4.19). To the church at Corinth he wrote, “But we Christians have no veil over our faces; we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him” (2 Corinthians 3.18, TLB). And to the church at Colossae he wrote, “He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me” (Colossians 1.28-29).
In every church, with every person, Paul’s goal was to see people become more and more like Jesus. He wanted people to be conformed to the image of Jesus, to be mirrors that reflect Jesus, to be matured into the likeness of Jesus.
A true disciple of Jesus
Over the years, I have used a 3D definition of a disciple. When you think of 3D, you think of something three-dimensional—fully orbed and lifelike. In the same way, a true disciple of Jesus has three dimensions that make him or her fully mature, fully orbed, and Christ-like – devoted, developing, and deployed.
This blog features an excerpt from one of our books, Bold Moves.