According to Greg Ogden in Discipleship Essentials, “Discipling is an intentional relationship in which we walk alongside other disciples in order to encourage, equip and challenge one another in love to grow toward maturity in Christ.”
Making disciples is the heartbeat of the church! If we are not making disciples, the life expectancy of our church is limited. This was Christ’s last command; therefore, it should be our first concern!
Discipleship is not a class, nor is it a program. Discipleship is a process—an intentional process—by which a person is conformed to the image of Christ. Most believers in the church today have never had the opportunity to be discipled as defined by Greg Ogden. We’ve listened to the preacher (most of the time) and attended Sunday school and Bible studies, but we’ve never had someone pour their lives into us and keep us accountable for living for Christ. If this is you, it’s not too late to start now!
It is God’s will for us to grow in our spiritual lives. We grow most effectively in our relationship with Christ as we seek him together in community! We need each other! God did not design us to walk through the difficulties and trials in life alone. The Bible says in Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” God created us to crave community with one another. God created us in Christ Jesus to do good works (Ephesians 2:10). And the writer of Hebrews encourages us to think of ways that we can spur one another to love and do good works (Hebrews 10:24). This was the life that Jesus lived; and he is calling us to follow him.
“Being a disciple is a lifelong process of dying to self while allowing Jesus Christ to come alive in us.” (Greg Ogden)
Discipleship is influencing someone to be more and live more like Jesus. Who are you discipling? Who is discipling you? As Paul said to the believers in Corinth, we must be able to say, “Follow me as I follow the example of Christ.”
What an amazing challenge! It’s hard to imagine the audacity to make this kind of challenge. But knowing Paul’s heart, he was not audacious–he was strong, committed, passionate and courageous enough to put himself out there as an example to the other believers. I must be this kind of man! We must be this type of example of Christ! Are you willing to stand up and be a strong, committed and passionate disciple of Jesus Christ?