Yesterday I attended a conference workshop designed for smaller Churches at my alma mater. It was an inspiring day filled with great information from some gifted speakers. One of the men addressed how our Churches are called to make disciples, a topic I have been discussing with our Church leadership for the past two months.
During a question and answer time near the end of the day, one person asked this speaker a great question. They wanted to know, “What are the characteristics of a disciple?”
I appreciate the question as I have been researching and teaching on that exact topic. I usually point to Matthew 28:18-20 or what is referred to as The Great Commission. There Jesus tells his followers that they are to make disciples, baptize them and teach them to obey everything he commanded. I then emphasize that a true disciple follows Jesus, is baptized, obeys Jesus and then goes to make more disciples. It is a solid biblical answer that is still very helpful.
The speaker took the idea and went a different direction with it that I have never heard or noticed. He went to Matthew 4:19, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (New American Standard). He then explained that there are three characteristics of a disciple.
1. They follow Jesus. Jesus calls, “follow me.”
2. They are being transformed. He focused on the phrase, “and I will make you.” Jesus is making us into his image.
3. They are fishers of men. A disciple cares about other people’s salvation and growth.
These are the marks of a true disciple of Jesus.
I think that is a great response. It pushes me to grow in my faith while demonstrating it with my life.
If these are the characteristics of a disciple, then I must ask myself if I am a disciple or just a Church attendee.