When discussing the topic of discipleship, we often use terms with other Christ-followers and we believe we mean the same thing. However, it's paramount to make sure we are all on the same page when it comes to several key words/concepts related to Discipleship.
Because the gospel we preach determines the disciples we produce, nailing down exactly what the gospel is has huge ramifications to our entire emphasis on making disciples. A very brief definition of the gospel is:
There is a king. His name is Jesus and He is Lord over all. He sacrificed His life for you. He invites you to surrender and follow Him in every area of your life.
A mandatory part of any true presentation of the gospel (and a part that is often neglected in modern-day presentations of the gospel) is the necessity of following Jesus. A gospel that does not call people to repent, believe, and follow (obey) is an incomplete explanation of the gospel that Jesus preached.
DISCIPLESHIP (VS. DISCIPLE-MAKING)
Discipleship is a Spirit-led process whereby we are conformed into the image of Christ (see Rom. 8:29), bringing all aspects of our lives under the reign and rule of King Jesus. In a nutshell, discipleship is following Jesus as He brings renewal to all things.
Disciple-Making is more than just a few people coming together periodically to "go through a book." What separates disciple-making from what most churches call discipleship is:
- Intentionality - disciple-making is not simply helping someone follow Christ in their own life, but also training them to be able to help another person follow Christ (who will turn around and repeat this process with someone else). See 2 Timothy 2:2.
- Reproducibility - disciple-making must be something that can be reproduced or it's not the disciple-making Jesus modeled for us. Through a repeatable process and use of a curriculum, a disciple should be able to go forward and do with someone else what they experienced with the person who discipled them.
A disciple is someone whose life completely revolves around Jesus.
For our lives to completely revolve around Jesus means He is our King and we will obey/follow Him.
2 key concepts are containted in this definition:
- Completely - this indicates that every area of our lives are under the authority of King Jesus - our family, our job, our finances, our time, our talents/gifts...everything.
- Revolves Around - this indicates that we are not the center of our lives any longer - King Jesus is.
The term 5G Disciple is in reference to our marks of disciple and is synonymous with our definition of a disciple (cited above). At The Heights, we believe there are at least 5 marks of a disciple:
- Grace - we enter into a relationship with God through grace and daily live out our identity in grace.
- Gather - we are better together. God intended for us to come together with other believers for worship, prayer, service, etc.
- Grow - healthy things grow and 2 of the best tools God has provided are His word and prayer. A disciple should be able to hear from the Lord through prayer and Bible study and know how to respond daily.
- Give - God gives us time, talents, and treasures and a disciple understands all of these are to be used for the expansion of the Kingdom of God.
- Go - a disciples obeys the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20) to take the gospel to people and, for those who respond positively, help them become disciples and (eventually) disciple-makers.
Many believers in churches today are content to be 4G disciples, but a disciple who follows Jesus's pattern is marked by all 5G's.