What Is Discipleship?

“Discipleship”

Have you heard this word buzzing around lately?

Do you know someone who’s in a discipleship relationship?

If so, you’ve more than likely nodded your head up and down as your girlfriend droned on and on about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.

But, you still have no clue what she’s talking about?

You wonder, What is she so excited about and why won’t she stop talking about it?

You’re trying to keep up, but you’re way too deep into the conversation now. You’ve passed the point of asking.

I promise, you don’t have to be fluent in Christian-speak to make sense of a two thousand year old word. 

What does discipleship even mean?

Disciple, Disciples and even the word Discipleship is being batted around conversations these days like a grad party beach ball. So, what does it mean, anyway?

Let’s start at the very beginning. The word DISCIPLE occurs 32 times in the Bible, while the word DISCIPLES (plural) shows up in God’s Word a whopping 267 times.

The Greek word for disciple is mathētēs (math-ay-tase) and it means to be a learner or a pupil and also the following:

  1. to increase one’s knowledge
  2. to hear, be informed
  3. to learn by use and practice

As a new Christian, we need others to come alongside us and help us understand how to walk this road. God wired us for relationship and to need one another. Trusting and following Jesus is an intimate relationship that takes time. We are spiritual babies in need of help to grow up in our faith.

John MacArthur has this to say about our growth in Christ, “We are born spiritually just as we were born physically, with everything complete and intact. We do not add arms or legs or organs as we mature physically. These grow and develop but they are not added. Likewise when we are born spiritually, we are undeveloped but complete. We need spiritual food and exercise in order to grow, but we do not need and we will not be given additional spiritual parts.


This blog is from our partner Discipleship for Women. Download for free their 42 Scripture Memory Cards here.


Jesus cared about the spiritual growth of his apostles, so he modeled this relationship by inviting the apostles to come and follow Him.

They walked with Jesus for three years.

Our spiritual transformation is immediate and unseen by the naked eye–but the Lord sees. He knows the second we’re born into a new life in His son. From this point on, we’re babies of the faith. We need others to come alongside us and show us how to live out what the Lord’s gently placed in each of us–His spirit.

Paul reminds us in his letter to the Corinthians, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1

But, what does that even mean? How do we follow Paul and what does that look like on a daily basis?

A Road Map to Women’s Discipleship

I believe a simple road map of discipleship exists in Acts 2:41-42.

Salvation

Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts 2:41-42

That moment God’s word walks into your heart and pulls up a chair. What you decide to do with what you know about Jesus will change the course of your physical and eternal life forever. Baptism and belief work hand in hand. If Jesus thought baptism was important, than we should, too. Once you’re saved, sanctification is next.

God’s Word

Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts 2:41-42

The gospel was taught by the apostles and thousands were saved. Once these people believed, they continued unwavering in and through the truth of the scriptures. They took sound doctrine seriously and remained faithful to it each and every day. They believed Jesus was the full Word of God. (John 1:1-4)

If Jesus said it, they believed it. End of story.

Fellowship

Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts 2:41-42

This is where encouragement takes its rightful place. The word used here for fellowship is koinōnia which is the Greek word for an intimate and soul-deep relationship. Your words will never be loud in a woman’s ears if she doesn’t feel close to you first. That old adage fits quite nicely here: No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. Fellowship is not your everyday women’s Bible study relationship. It’s much more than that. Just short of pledging allegiance to one another, people knew this group of men and women loved one another well and took each others needs seriously.

Hospitality

Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts 2:41-42

In the middle east, eating together is a sign of trust and friendship. The same can be said about us in today’s American culture. Over 70% of families eat everywhere except around the kitchen table. Making a meal and inviting someone to sit around our table for a meal would be a kind and vulnerable gesture of hospitality.

Prayer

Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts 2:41-42

Prayer is a key ingredient of a disciple’s life. It’s an area where the woman who is discipling needs to encourage growth. Often times, women have never prayed out loud. They need gentle encouragement to begin taking small steps to praying for themselves and others.

Helping women trust and follow Jesus is not a one-time Bible study. It’s not a women’s conference where a weekend together will do the trick. Women’s discipleship is a loving commitment from an older woman of faith to a younger woman of faith.

Daily steps of one part God’s Word, one part fellowship, one part hospitality, and one part prayer can make up a powerhouse of a women’s discipleship relationship.

The next time your girlfriend drones on and on about discipleship, you’ll know exactly what she’s talking about–and my prayer is, you’ll ask her how to find a woman who can disciple you, too.

 

Joanne Kraft is a nonfiction author and national speaker. Her passion is for women to catch the Titus 2 vision of discipleship.  Author of The Mean Mom’s Guide to Raising Great Kids and Just too Busy — Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical, she’s a frequent guest on Focus on the Family, Family Life Today and CBN. Her articles have appeared in ParentLife, Today’s Christian Woman, In Touch, P31 Woman and more. Her podcast Discipleship for Women is coming June 2019. 

Originally published on Discipleship for Women. Used by permission.

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This article was originally posted here. Used by permission.
2019-11-18T23:10:09+00:00

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