The mission of the United Methodist Church is to “Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World.” I completely understand and agree the church must be making disciples and our world needs to be changed, transformed. Our society is far from perfect. Because the mission of the church is to make disciples the mission of every church member is also to make disciples. But what is a disciple? How can we make something we can’t define?
Kyle Idleman in his book Not A Fan says a disciple is a follower. But I think most followers start as a fan so when do we become a disciple? Craig Groeschel says a Christian Atheist lives as if God doesn’t exist, so that’s not being a disciple. Almost Christian by Kenda Creasy Dean describes what she calls “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism” and she says it may be the fastest growing religion in America, again not a disciple. Some of my pastor friends say it’s a journey and the definition keeps changing because a disciple who “brags” about being a disciple isn’t. How do I know I am a follower of Jesus Christ? A disciple?
Jesus talked about a fruit tree that would be pruned to produce fruit. He condemned a tree that no longer produced fruit. He talked about vines and branches and fruit. So, I think Jesus is telling us a disciple produces fruit. So can we conclude if you’re not producing fruit you must not be a disciple? When we produce fruit we become a disciple. Jesus also gave us the process to be a disciple when he said Go and Teach others, Baptize new believers into the life of ministry which is Observing what He taught us and live with the Holy Spirit. So I guess a disciple is one who works alongside the Holy Spirit to connect people to Jesus Christ who connect people to Jesus Christ who connect others to Jesus Christ.
How are the people you have connected to Jesus Christ connecting others to Jesus Christ?