A disciple is a student or follower who learns a way of life from a master. Jesus was the ultimate discipler (Mark 3:13-15). He trained his followers by intensive teaching, modeling, coaching and delegation. Christian discipleship is a way of life that learns to follow Jesus.
For the Christian disciple, Jesus is Lord. Disciples learn to live in a way that pleases their master (Gal 6:2). Following Jesus daily does not happen by accident. It takes discipline and effort as disciples look to Jesus in faith and train for godliness (Hebrews 12:1-2, I Timothy 4:7-8).
Christian discipleship happens in the local church. Discipleship starts with the formal teaching and preaching of God’s Word and works it’s way out to every part of the body of Christ. In the family of God brothers and sisters commit to work together and to encourage, model, and challenge each other to follow Jesus (Hebrews 3:12-13, Colossians 3:16).
The goal of discipleship is to produce mature followers of Jesus who can share the gospel and help new believers to follow Jesus (Colossians 1:24-29, 2 Timothy 2:1-2). This culture of discipleship naturally leads a church to carry out Jesus’ mission for the church.