This may be obvious, but it seems that if the command is to make disciples, we ought to know what a disciple might be. I have been in churches fairly consistently since I came to Christ in 1973, I do not remember a message that defined for the congregation what a disciple is. I have heard such messages, at para-church conferences, but not in the churches. Odd.
In their book “Simple Church: Returning to God's Process for Making Disciples,” Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger state that they found, “…that the healthiest churches in America tended to have a simple process for making disciples. They had clarity about the process. They moved Christians intentionally through the process. They were focused on the elements of the process. And they aligned their entire congregation to this process.” (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2006, p ix.)
If they have a process, by definition they have defined the product. As Steven Covey preaches, they started with the end in mind. This is important. The Church is not to be about making converts, communicants, or even Christians. Acts 11:26 is determinative on this point. The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch. Note the order; disciple first.
For the next few posts we will look at some passages that may help us understand what a disciple is, and how to make one. After all, as dads, that is what we want our kids to be, right?