the weblog of Alan Knox

Can’t we let someone else think about discipleship for us?

Posted by on Nov 4, 2011 in blog links, discipleship | 5 comments

Can’t we let someone else think about discipleship for us?

Gavin at “Simple Church Alliance” has written a very good post called “What is a Disciple and How Do We Make Them?

He focuses on the two questions in the title of his post: 1) What is a disciple? 2) How does someone make a disciple?

Obviously, Gavin is not saying that we are supposed to create disciples. Only God can do that through his Holy Spirit. However, we do see examples and instructions in Scripture that indicate that we should be able the business of helping one another grow as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

But, what does this mean? Isn’t that what the church is for? I mean, don’t we have leaders (pastors, elders, bishops, teachers, etc.) to take care of making disciples so the rest of us can go on about our normal lives?

Gavin says:

It is surprising to me how long I was able to go on as a Christian without ever really taking time to address these two important questions. For most of my life walking with Jesus, I’ve ended up doing a bunch of spiritual stuff (meetings, programs, etc) with the hope that some of it sticks on the wall of discipleship. I do believe that, despite me, God has probably used some of my frenzied activity to make disciples. As of late, however, I have been under the conviction to allow the answers I find in Scripture about the Great Commission (What is a disciple and how am I supposed to make them?) to dictate my time and activities.

Ah, yes. Filling our lives with “spiritual stuff”… I’ve been there, done that, and I have the embroidered polo shirt to prove it. In fact, if I’m not careful, I can easily wander into that way of life again.

While Gavin doesn’t answer the two questions that he asks in this post, he does promise to do so in later posts.

So, I’ll post those questions to you: 1) What is a disciple? 2) How does one go about discipling others?


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 11-5-2011

    It really is quite amazing how so few Christians ever consider the implications of following the Great Commission. But I guess they only follow what they see modeled, which is a far cry from what Jesus meant when He said to “make disciples of all nations.”

    It would be encouraging if we would be asked (and allowed to consider) those TWO questions much more often. As for my answers to those questions…I thought it was so important I created a podcast that focuses solely on it.

    Thanks for your post Alan, you bring up some great thoughts and questions.

  2. 11-5-2011

    I’ll take a stab. Curious where this goes (it almost seems like a trick question). I suppose there are lots of ways to answer this.

    A disciple is a learner. As believers, we are all privileged to be enrolled students. Some, perhaps too many, spend our day gazing out the window of self-absoption rather than learning at our Teacher’s feet, and from following Him around, hanging on His every word and action, and delighting when he invited us to participate in activities.

    We disciple others by being disciples together. Learners, hearers, doers, together. We share notes; we encourage and challenge each other to keep up and to move further on in following Him. We caution when distractions hold another back–it is not a competitive race, but a collaborative jopurney. Rather than gaining by running ahead, we suffer loss when anyone falls behind.

  3. 11-5-2011

    Here are my answers: A disciple of Jesus Christ is a person who is indwelled by the Holy Spirit and living according to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We “make disciples” when we help people follow Jesus: strengthening them as they trust God, showing them how and providing opportunities for them to serve others to demonstrate God’s love, uniting them with other disciples (in spite of differences or disagreements), and guiding them as they disciple others. It’s a life long and mutual process.


  4. 11-6-2011

    Here’s a great answer given by Frank Viola – – Here’s highlights…

    To the early believers, Christian community was the only discipleship “program” that existed, and it was sufficient…The way the 12 made disciples was the same way Jesus made disciples…each member becomes “discipled” simply by being part of the shared-life community under Christ as the Head.”

  5. 11-7-2011


    Thanks for the quote. I agree. I wish more people would share real life examples of what that looks like in their own life and community.