It doesn’t really matter which discipleship model, track, tool, or system you use. What matters is that you use one. A disciple of Jesus is a follower of Him as the King. And it’s an all in proposition. There is no such thing as “partial” discipleship. However, we need to understand that becoming a disciple of Jesus does not mean that we will somehow automatically “arrive.”
Our church has found a list of 8 characteristics that can help create more well-rounded followers of Jesus. We don’t expect disciples to be proficient in all 8 right away: Together we work to develop these characteristics that come from Luke and Acts (specifically Luke 9:18-27).
Here are our 8 Ws, essential components of a disciple, and some questions to ask when discipling a new follower of Jesus:
We must be experiencing and worshiping God. It is vital to intentionally and consistently engaging with Jesus in such a way that opens oneself to a deeper relationship with Him and His dynamic rule and reign in one’s life.
Question to ask: How is this person learning to worship deeply and consistently?
We must be learning to hear and respond to God by actively listening to the Holy Spirit primarily through the Scriptures, as well as other means, and taking action according to what one is hearing.
Question to ask: What is this person learning while they’re digging into the word? How are they putting what they’re reading into practice?
We must become sacrificial servants. Having experienced the love and power of God in our lives we should be moved to do the works and words of Jesus out of a compassion for the broken.
Question to ask: How is this person practically serving the poor and loving their neighbors?
We must develop a life of generosity by faithfully managing and carefully investing what the Lord Jesus has given us so that we can contribute significantly toward the advancement of His kingdom.
Question to ask: How does this person feel about generous giving? Do they have a record of financial faithfulness?
We are called to making reproducible followers of Jesus. By simply living in obedience to the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) given by Jesus, we make more and better followers of Him.
Question to ask: How does this person tell the story of the gospel? How have they been sharing Jesus with people around them?
WELCOMING PERSONAL CHANGE
Transformation is an ongoing process in one’s life. We should be experiencing change in our attitude and behaviors which reflect the truth of the Scriptures and as a result of our relationship with Jesus and others.
Question to ask: How is this person experiencing personal transformation and moving forward in their growth?
We can’t do this alone. We must pursue genuine relationships and authentic community by engaging people in such a way that exhibits the heart of Jesus for them.
Question to ask: What do the relationships in this person’s life look like? What kind of good or bad fruit are they experiencing?
We discover our place in the world and work to make a difference through personal involvement with others and the environment to facilitate positive change where one lives and beyond.
Question to ask: Has this person found their mission? Where are they working for positive change in the world?
I believe that God desires that we have a good grasp of each of these areas and that we’re continually working to look more like Jesus in them. And that’s the challenge and opportunity in following Christ, isn’t it?
Interested in more tools for discipleship? Check out the 8 Dimensions of Discipleship Guides from Vineyard Resources. These study guides cover topics like personal transformation, sacrificial service, authentic relationships, and more and can be used in any kind of setting for discipleship.
Ross was called to ministry in Jr. High, but didn’t actualize the call until he entered into a saving relationship with Jesus at 23. Ross graduated with a Master of Divinity from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO in 1982. He, his wife Mary, and their family served in two Lutheran parishes until 1990 when the Lord directed them to the Vineyard where they planted a church in Elgin, IL. In 1995, following the Lord’s leading, the Nelson’s moved to Tomahawk, WI, a rural blue collar town of 3500, where they planted the Northwoods Vineyard church. Out of the Northwoods Vineyard Church they planted three other Vineyard churches and have plans to plant at least three more before 2022. Ross serves on the Small Town USA Partnership which targets plants in rural America.