Defining Discipleship and Discipling

You can teach multitudes.
You can evangelize the masses.
You can train, coach, and mentor some.
You might disciple a few.


Discipling is being an example in front of another and helping him by guiding and directing him to seek and find God. Discipling is about being watched, evaluated and questioned.

Discipleship is not evangelism in that it is more encompassing.  But, evangelism can be a part of discipleship.

Discipleship is not solely Bible teaching, Bible study, Bible learning.

Being a disciple is not based on conformity to a set of rules, although, through the process of holy-spirit transformation one would be conformed to Christ’s manner and commands. This suggests that discipleship at its best matures Christians rather than legalistically imprints them.

Discipleship is not exactly a synonym for discipline. We can discipline ourselves in observance of spiritual fasting, prayer, meditation, memorization, learning, etc. In these good things the word “discipline”, points to the self, even though we may be doing it for other reasons. The point of “discipleship” is that there is following of another, that being, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Emmanuel, and King of Kings!

You might hear, “I am in a discipleship program.” but programs don’t disciple, people do.

Discipleship is not easily analyzed, tallied, counted, charted. Discipleship is more about process than closure, more about going to the next level than graduating or getting certified. Discipleship is on-going.

Discipleship is a lot about relationship.

Discipleship is impartation of soul, character, and spirit.

You make a disciple. Think  make art. Art can be collected but that is only if someone has made it. But, you don’t collect disciples because they are not owned. The beauty in good art is an expression of truth. You don’t own the truth but you make the art. Original art, a painting or a sculpture, is unique. People are unique. Discipling takes into consideration the uniqueness of the individual, their giftings, talents, abilities, desires,… You make another into something they were not before. Intrinsic change. Not forced or demanded. Truth finds its expression in art. A disciple finds his true self in knowing his Creator.

Disciplers teach but they are not so concerned about always stating what the Bible says in chapter and verse, as they are in demonstrating the interpretation of Scripture. The discipler’s interpretation is consistent with Scripture and the application is inserted in life-context so that its meaning is now perceived as relevant, useful, and sound. Discipleship has the result of making Bible text reproductive between generations.

Christian discipleship is the on-going making of another into the image of Christ through the self-revealing, transparent-impartation of life in Christ.

If you are not close enough for your disciple to smell your breath, good or bad, you are not close enough to be doing discipleship.

Discipleship can happen when there is presence; transparent honesty appropriately shared; confession, wisdom, presence.

Discipleship is self-sacrificing, customized, time-taking presence.

Being a disciple is following; living out the following-after process, of following Christ.

Discipleship At Camp

Because discipleship has a lot to do with relationship, discipleship at camp looks like building relationships.

Get to know your explorers by asking questions and listening. Earn the right to, in the future, at church, speak into their life. Earn those rights by demonstrating you know the person and care for his well being.

Because discipleship has a lot to do with being present, discipleship at camp looks like being with your explorers.

Be present at activities. Not just there in physical presence but emotionally engaged to cheer for them and affirm them.

Because discipleship has a lot to do with time, discipleship at camp looks like taking time with each person.

Taking time means giving them attention, undivided, uninterrupted time.

Discipleship At Church, After Camp

What will discipling five of my explorers look like at church?

Because discipling means being an example, discipleship at church looks like you being a Christian.

Being an example is really hard. It is hard because you are going to need to be doing things that are hard. You do disciplines as a life style, and be humble about the doing and not doing of those practices. Just in the doing of daily prayer and constant attention to God you will be living the example. You don’t have to always tell people what you are doing, sometimes you just point to who you love.

Because discipling is not easily analyzed, discipleship at church looks like persistence.

Not only will you need to be a good example for your explorers to model, you will have to be patient, allowing space and room for your explorer to implement the same practices you are doing. If you read Scripture for an hour, they may read for 10 minutes. If you serve as unto the Lord, they may volunteer without understanding why. If you suffer to do the right thing, they may get confused. Discipleship is a process not an end. Keep going.

Because discipling means to make followers of Christ, discipleship at church looks like people following Jesus.

Followers of Jesus are following him. Education, programs, and events are great if people get why they are involved. Part of making disciples is defining for others what it means to know the Bible, be a part of the youth group, and go to camp. It is about tuning each of our lives to the voice that calls us to follow. Discipling is helping others have a relationship with Jesus.

Go to the next section: Orientation/volunteering