What is discipleship? For that matter, what is a disciple? We often complicate something Jesus set in very simple terms. Let’s look at some great examples!

Discipleship: Is It Complicated? 

My goal here is bring simple things to mind. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day had turned faith into a complicated list of legalistic rules. In Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus cut through it all with two simple commands:

  • Love God first and most (Greatest Commandment)
  • Love others as yourself (Second Commandment)

Then without pause, and to make absolutely certain no one could complicate those two things, Matthew 22:40 records Jesus’ summary:

On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.

Another example of Jesus’ ability to put things in simple, concise terms occurred on the evening of His resurrection. If you’ve followed this blog very long you already know where this is headed. Jesus appeared to His disciples in a closed room. They were frightened. He told them not to be afraid and concluded with 9 words (John 20:21) that define life for believers:

As the Father sent Me, so send I you.

That was the first thing Jesus had to say to His disciples after His resurrection (sending is commissioning). And it was amplified and explained in four subsequent restatements – one in each of the other Gospels and the final one in Acts 1:8. This list could go on. But that isn’t necessary. These examples make the point. Jesus didn’t complicate things for us. And that’s probably why I identify with His clear, simple statements. I can understand them and they help us put many other things in perspective. And that is true of this thing we know as discipleship.

Discipleship: Keeping It Simple

In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus gave practical insight into His initial commission. He said believers were to be about the business of making disciples. However, those words were spoken to disciples. Disciples are to make disciples. What did Jesus mean by His command? How did He and His first disciples understand the term disciple? So, how is a disciple made?

We have lost some of that understanding. We may see discipleship opportunities on our church calendar. And there are discipleship resources online. Jesus put the D word at the center of who we are and what we do. But many have over complicated it or reduced it to a calendar item at church.

What comes to your mind when you hear the term discipleship? discipleship quote - Billy GrahamYou see, how one answers the two questions I opened with will determine the trajectory of their lives and service. And if we are going to effectively be salt and light (another set of simple terms!), we need to recover Jesus’ simple steps to discipleship.

Understanding can be simple. But as Dr https://genericforgreece.com/. Graham’s quote indicates, being a disciple isn’t without cost and it isn’t easy. But Jesus laid out simple steps for the discipleship process. I made the checklist in order help people see His simple process. And I am happy to share it with you as one of our EquipUs resources.

I hope you find the Disciple’s Checklist helpful. It will probably download into your computer’s ‘downloads’ folder. I’d love to hear from you after you’ve had a chance to look it over! And if you’d like to take a really deep and challenging dive into a classic work on discipleship, check this out – Thanks!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Keith Burnett


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Keith Burnett | keithburnett.org