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Discipleship Defined

Scott Haulter, Lead Pastor

Can discipleship be defined?

Head, hands and feet, when I started boxing I was told at least one of the three must always be moving. It makes it harder for the person to hit you. And if there is one thing I like about boxing, it is not being hit. Well, and being able to hit the other person. But just like anything else a moving target it always much harder to hit.

So if we don’t know or can’t define discipleship then it is not really a goal anyone can hit repeatedly and that is what Jesus commanded us to do. The Great Commission tells us to go make . . . disciples. Not just one disciple but multiple disciples. So to do that, we should have a target that can be hit repeatedly.

Jesus who was the greatest disciple maker of all time, who commanded us to make disciples, should have left us with a definition and process to make disciples then shouldn’t he? I believe he did. The first time I heard this teaching was about 9 years ago from Jim Putman. And it was so simple that I had always missed it. (to be honest I think most of us missed it).

Jesus’ calling of the disciples in Matthew 4:19 as I remember it in the old NIV said: “come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”  What Jim said that I believe is very true is that Jesus gave us the definition of a disciple right in the invitation to the first disciples he called.

Let’s take a closer look at that scripture.

Jesus said to come, a disciple is someone who is leaving what was important to them.  Me, myself and I. When I became a Christian I had spent many years becoming very good at some actions that scripture qualified as sins. I had to leave behind many activities, words, and friends that would slow me down from becoming a disciple of Jesus.  I am still fighting some of those same old sins from before I started following Jesus.

The second action step I notice in the invitation is to follow me. A disciple is someone who is following Jesus. Notice I am no longer following me, my wants, desires, or even the preacher if he is preaching something that is separate from what scripture teaches. I think it is very important at this point to notice that we are making disciples of Jesus, not of my favorite worship leader or preacher, but of the real Jesus.

I will make you is a statement that I don’t really enjoy hearing as a man. When I hear someone try to tell me they will make me do anything, even if I want to do it, I won’t do it. Some people call it hard headed or bull headed or . . . a man, but that is what Jesus said he would do. Jesus made it very clear, “I will make you.“ Jesus will change you into what he wants you to be. His job is to make me and my job is to let him. It is not always easy, but a disciple of Jesus is being changed by Jesus.

Finally, come follow me and I will make you . . . fishers of men. Seriously fishers of men?  Could Jesus not have come up with something better than that? I mean seriously I don’t even fish, or want to fish. But here in this little statement we see the relational genius of Jesus. Jesus was using the language of the people he was calling to build into them the confidence to do what they thought they would never do. . . be a part of a rabbi’s talmidim. (followers of a certain rabbi).

If I were in all of my linguistic depth to translate that statement into modern English, I would say. You guys got this. We are just going to tweak what you are already a professional at and you will then be disciple makers.

Let’s review what a disciple of Jesus is:

  • Following Jesus
  • Being changed by Jesus
  • On mission with Jesus

And if you are in a fight move your head, your hands or your feet at all times!!!


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