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10 Reasons #8 - The Church community typically focuses on making converts rather than making disciples

August 19 2015 By
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In giving us the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20), Jesus said to go into all the world and make disciples. (not just converts). This then brings up the need to distinguish between a “disciple” and a “non-disciple”.

We believe it is true to say that not all believers are disciples. (from the Biblical standpoint.) What then is a proper definition of the term “disciple?” We believe it will help us to consider a disciple to be an “apprentice.”

Luke 6:40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.

The key word in this verse is the word "like". Is a disciple a student? Yes. Is an apprentice a student? Yes. What then is the difference between a student and a disciple?

Jesus is differentiating between somebody that is just acquiring knowledge versus somebody that wants to become like a teacher. The disciple has the goal of being like the teacher.

In the DTI material we purport that the disciple is becoming like the discipler. If we understand that the disciple is going to become like the teacher (discipler) that makes the discipler a role model. (Whether one likes it or not)

Balanced Discipleship

If your goal (as a pastor or leader) is to just present Biblical knowledge, you can deemphasize the idea of role model. Because the typical person that stands up at a seminar is imparting knowledge. They are not thinking, “I want you to become just like me.” They are imparting knowledge.

But a disciple is a different creature. The disciple has the goal of becoming like the person they are being discipled by. When a person becomes a Christian and a discipler (spiritual mentor) is in their life, the goal of the discipler is to help the newer believer to become like Jesus.

Unfortunately, many in the Western Hemisphere have adopted the secular teacher-student method for growing believers. There are significant factors that would seem to favor this approach, such as busyness and perceived efficiency. However, what appears to be most efficient is not necessarily what is most effective.

The teacher-disciple model demands a greater commitment, and much more personal attention, but we believe it is the Biblical method as modeled by Jesus Himself, and the model that will result in the greatest individual spiritual growth and impact on the world.

A Student – Typically the goal of a student is to learn knowledge (information), that is, to learn what the teacher knows. The student may not even respect or like his teacher.

A Disciple – A disciple on the other hand is a student who has the goal of becoming like his teacher. This model requires personal interaction, and a personal commitment by the teacher (mentor, spiritual parent) on behalf of the apprentice learner.

A Student Wants To Know What the Teacher Knows, A Disciple Wants To Become Like the Teacher

Last modified on Wednesday, 19 August 2015 15:00

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