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What is a Disciple?

Today’s blog is sponsored by the D3 Youth Conference, March 8-9, 2024 at Boyce College in Louisville, KY.

Some words become so familiar they risk losing their meaning. For Christians, the term “disciple” carries just such a risk. We read about Jesus calling forth disciples in the pages of the Gospels. We recognize the command to “make disciples of every nation” in the Great Commission. We sign up for discipleship programming at our churches. But what exactly do we mean when we speak of being a disciple of Jesus?

Early in the Gospel accounts (Mk. 2:18), we see a recognition that Jesus’s disciples live differently from the disciples of other teachers or schools. The disciples of John the Baptist ask Jesus why his followers don’t fast like those of John or the Pharisees. Jesus’s response clarifies that his disciples live differently because his coming represents an inbreaking of a new sort of kingdom. Whereas the disciples of other groups primarily reflect the teaching of a great master or school, Jesus’s disciples reflect his relationship to the Father and share in his power for ministry.

A right relationship with Jesus grounds our life lived as his disciple.

Everyone is a disciple of someone to some degree. Whether you follow the latest new age teacher, model your life after a guru on the manosphere, or just consider yourself a devoted Swiftie, we are all pupils of some sort of life teaching. And in a day when content has become so accessible, we can be influenced by more teachers than any generation in history. Considering our current reality, the question “What is a disciple” has never been more important to answer faithfully. 

When Jesus gathered his disciples in Mark 3:13, he “called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him.” First and foremost, Jesus’s disciples are summoned to be with him. The empowerment for ministry that will come to the disciples flows from the relationship the disciples have with Jesus. Such will be the same for us. A right relationship with Jesus grounds our life lived as his disciple.

During the upcoming D3 Youth Conference, your student will learn what it means to be a disciple, and in turn, understand their role in making disciples of others. Join us March 8-9 on the campus of Boyce College in Louisville to explore topics such as these:

  • How Do I Follow Jesus in a Digital Age?
  • How Spiritual Disciplines Motivate Our Hearts Toward Holiness
  • The Missional Heart of a Disciple

Space is limited so secure your student’s registration today!


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