What is a Disciple? – Part I

By Brian Walters, Director of Discipleship & Biblical Training @MBCLoudoun

A disciple is a follower of Jesus Christ who lives in biblical community
and is committed to becoming like Him by obeying Him, serving Him and sharing Him
– McLean Bible Church definition of a disciple

Over the next several weeks here on the blog, we are going to unpack McLean Bible Church’s definition of discipleship so that you may clearly understand the true meaning of becoming/being a disciple according to the Word of God. We will divide the definition above into segments, beginning this week with, “A disciple is a follower of Jesus Christ…”

So what does it mean to be a follower of Jesus? First and foremost, a “follower” is one who actively seeks a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Without a personal relationship with Jesus, discipleship cannot exist because disciple-making is rooted in God’s plan of redemption, and it begins with teaching others about God (Matthew 28:19-20).

To start this relationship we need to repent of our sins and receive God’s forgiveness and grace through placing our faith in Jesus’ atoning work on the cross (Mark 1:15). Mike, our Silver Spring Campus Pastor, explains why we need a relationship with Jesus and how we can have one in this one-minute video.

Friends, the Gospel you just heard Mike describe requires a response—and not responding is a response. There is no single greater choice or decision you will ever make here on earth than deciding what you believe about Jesus Christ, and if He is your Lord and Savior. Your eternality depends upon it. We have no idea when our time is up here on earth. It could be 20 years from now, two weeks from now, or even tomorrow, so don’t put off saying, “yes” to Jesus. You can never know when it may just become too late for you to do so. The only living hope that can sustain us now and for eternity (1 Peter 1:3-4) is Jesus, and placing your faith in Jesus is the first step in becoming His “follower.”

A disciple is a follower of Jesus Christ who lives in biblical community and is committed to becoming like Him by obeying Him, serving Him and sharing Him.

You may think that you are a disciple because you believe in Jesus and trust him for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life; but friend, this is only the beginning. A true disciple of Christ not only believes in Jesus, but also actively submits to the sanctification process—the transforming power of the Spirit working within us as believers—by putting faith into practice (James 1:22). In other words, disciples seek to be like Christ in their daily lives by modeling Christ’s example in everything they do: by willingly laying down their lives in service to others, taking up their crosses daily, and following God’s leading no matter the personal cost (Luke 14:27). Over the next five weeks, we will break down this concept of putting your faith into action.

Following Jesus is a lifelong process where we are continually shaped to look more like Christ. Christ has left us with one mission until He returns: to make disciples. Thankfully He doesn’t leave us alone to do the task; He is with us “to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20) and we have His Word, to teach, rebuke, correct and train us in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16). So, have you taken the first step?

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