At times, certain titles seem to be mistakenly associated with a particular gender or role. One of those titles is the term disciple. When Jesus commissioned the first disciples, his command to “Go and make disciples” was never meant for men alone; it was certainly meant for all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, men and women alike. A disciple of Jesus Christ is not born; a disciple is developed. Discipleship requires focus, time, and commitment which reaps deeply rich spiritual benefits. Discipleship is not a Bible study, it is much, much more, and becoming a true disciple will impact lives for eternity.
What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus?
Luke 9:23 – “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” To take up a cross in the times of Jesus meant being willing to die. A disciple is a sold-out follower. The cost of discipleship is high. Where and to whom submission to authority is given is where discipleship lies. Everyone is a disciple of something or someone – this means we have dedicated our allegiance and person to something or someone. To be characterized as a Christian disciple means all allegiance and authority has been submitted to Jesus Christ alone, solely to his leadership and agenda.
What are some characteristics of a disciple-maker?
- Clear focused – the focus of a Christian’s life is to be about disciple-making. Jesus’ targeted focus was passing on what he knew to the disciples through personal relationships. The whole idea behind Christianity is about transferring our lifestyle to another through a personal relationship. We are God’s plan to spread the gospel to a lost world. There is no alternative plan.
- Concerned for souls – a disciple of Jesus is never stagnant. He/she is always maturing and changing with different seasons and opportunities of life, but always with a kingdom focus. A disciple-maker is looking for opportunities to teach and model the truth of scripture as well as the saving grace of Christ. Jesus was constantly using every opportunity to teach godly principles and truth to those around him, but especially to the disciples.
- Committed – a disciple of Jesus Christ is not only committed to allowing the truth of the word to change him/her personally. There is also a commitment to invite others to come along beside and learn how to be a devoted follower, thus taking on the role of a disciple-maker. With this commitment comes a willingness to not only study God’s word together, but to do life together over an extended period of time while making application of biblical truth into everyday life scenarios. Jesus spent three years with the twelve and intimate one-on-one time with Peter, James, and John. These disciples took what Jesus taught them and literally changed the world throughout the course of history. “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Can a woman be a disciple? Yes! Can a woman be a disciple-maker? Most definitely, yes! Women are not excluded, but are in fact, included in Jesus’ command to “Go and make disciples.” His command was and is universal to all those who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ. So this begs the question — who are you actively discipling? Are you a disciple-maker? If your church or women’s ministry does not currently have an active disciple-making focus in place, consider contacting the SBTC Women’s Leadership to find out how to effectively implement Jesus’ commission and begin developing Christian disciples for the sake of the Kingdom. Making disciples is not a program, it is such a way of life that it actually becomes a part of the DNA of an obedient follower of Jesus.