How disciples are made

My working definition of discipleship right now is a simple 7-word statement: a life shaped by Jesus worth imitating. None of us have to be convinced (I hope) or need an explanation of the centrality of discipleship in the mission of Jesus. If you wonder if you are on mission with Jesus, the only question you need to answer for yourself is whether anyone is imitating your life in Jesus.

Imitation is how disciples are made. Paul knew this. He told those crazy Corinthians, I can imagine in exhaustion, after trying to explain to them the course they should take to straighten out their issues, to simply “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Cor 11:1, NRSV) This was his instruction a whole bunch of times (1 Cor 4:16; Phil 3:17; 2 Thes 3:7 and 9). The writer to the Hebrews gave this instruction too. “Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” (Heb 13:7) In each instance, the root is the word from which we get mime.

It goes both ways

Please don’t start a mime ministry. That would miss the point. The point is, discipleship is imitation. You disciple others by Jesus shaping your life and others mimicking you. But your life is being shaped through imitation as well. It goes both ways. Who are you imitating? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who am I around?
  • Who am I talking to?
  • Who am I listening to?
  • What are they doing to me?
  • What have they got me reading?
  • What have they got me saying?
  • What do they have me thinking?
  • Where do they have me going?

The most important question to ask is, Who do they have me becoming? Then ask yourself the big question: Is that okay? You never move beyond discipleship. Having others imitate you makes it all the more vital to be around people worth imitating.

Think of one or more people you are imitating or possess a characteristic you would like to have. Give them a call, write an email, or send a text letting them know they are discipling you. It may open up another dimension in your relationship and will be an encouragement them. Send them this article and let them know their life is making a difference.

Title Signature Screenshot Cartoon 2015