When we say make disciples, what do we really mean?


Patrick Morley founded Man in the Mirror and has impacted the lives of people worldwide. Patrick has given us permission to share the following article with you. Hope this blesses you and your team!

To be a disciple of Jesus is the highest honor to which we can aspire. Yet even though discipleship is one of the hottest topics in Christendom today, it’s also one of the least understood.

Perhaps when most people hear the word “discipleship,” they visualize a curriculum. That would make a “disciple” someone who knows a lot about their faith. And that is partially true. To excel at anything you need to have the right information. But discipleship is a much deeper, richer, and fuller concept. It is also a lifelong process of becoming more like Jesus. It starts with salvation, matures through learning, and fulfills by loving and serving our neighbors.

What is a disciple? A disciple is someone called to live “in” Christ, equipped to live “like” Christ, and sent to live “for” Christ. “Calling” includes salvation and abiding in Christ (John 8:31–32). “Equipping” includes spiritual formation and growth (2 Timothy 3:16–17). “Sending” includes discipling others, good work, bearing much fruit, and neighbor love (Matthew 28:18–20, John 15:8, John 13:34–35).

What then is discipleship? Discipleship, then, is anything that calls someone to live in Christ, equips them to live like Christ, or sends them to live for Christ. Authentic discipleship is to raise up men and women who love above all else the God who loves them above all else.

Making disciples is God’s designated way to release the power of His gospel on every problem we face. That’s because however a person got into their current situation, the only solution is to disciple them out.

Evangelism without discipleship is cruel. It’s like enlisting a man in the Army and issuing him a rifle that he never learns how to clean and shoot. The risk when we don’t “fully” disciple new believers is that they will almost always become lukewarm in faith, worldly in behavior, and hypocritical in witness. For this reason alone, anything less than a plan to disciple every willing person is a catastrophic moral failure.

Not everyone wants to be discipled, but who’s responsible for those who do? Of course, the Holy Spirit does the work, but he has chosen to do that work through us.

So how do we do this? What’s our part? When God puts someone in your path who is stuck, discipleship means finding out why and then helping them solve that problem. Who has God put in your path who is stuck? Get to know them. Find out where they are in life, on their spiritual journey, and what’s holding them back. It’s the “making disciples” thing to do.

The first step to every great outcome is to imagine its possibility.

Your kids can live in Christ, live like Christ and live for Christ

The Great Commission is for all believers, not just grown-ups and teens. DiscipleLand lays a solid foundation for spiritual growth. Kids discover how to live in Christ, live like Christ, and live for Christ. DiscipleLand’s complete line of children’s ministry discipleship resources help you make disciples for life.

At DiscipleLand, you’ll find a comprehensive curriculum designed for children ages birth to 12. Not sure which curriculum to choose? Our Children’s Ministry Curriculum Finder is a great tool to help you get started.

Source: Article used with permission. Patrick Morley.


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