What is a Disciple?
A disciple understands the Father’s heart of love toward the world. Disciples of Jesus stand in that immoveable love (John 3:16; Ro. 5:2; 1 John 4:16-18). A disciple joins the Son in extending the work of redemption by engaging with Him among the lost and the saved. They engage with the lost because disciples embrace the goodness of this news of God’s love and desire to proclaimed it to all peoples. A disciple engages with the saved to develop other Christians so that they all fully enter into the rich and blessed experience of God’s presence. This experience of His presence fosters a desire within them to see others formed in Christ for His Kingdom and His purposes. The Spirit leads and inspires the disciple to intentionally engage in prayer, the Word and other spiritual disciplines to meet with God, resulting in the response of obedience and transformation into Christ-likeness.
CONSUMED: A disciple is consumed by the Father’s heart. The idea behind “consumed” is that the disciple experiences the lavishness of God’s love on a daily basis in such a way that he/she realizes that a relationship with Jesus benefits anyone and everyone who’d enter it. This realization provides the motivation for proclaiming the gospel and making disciples. A disciple desires to share God’s abundant love and grace with others because of the richness that has filled his/her life and experience. The quality of life with God is so fantastic that the disciple cannot but speak with others about the wonderful life available in Christ. Such a love builds a community that enjoys expanding the Kingdom as a reflection of the Father’s heart for wholeness and healing for all. It also reflects God’s desire to reconcile and restore all things back to Himself.
ENGAGED: A disciple is engaged with the Son among the lost and the saved. Disciples of Jesus enjoy spending their life on mission with Jesus. Being engaged with the Son among the lost and saved means the disciple works to join God in what He is already doing. They invite the lost to enter the Kingdom through Jesus and learn from Him as a disciple. They assist the saved in growing in their relationship with God so that all can appropriate His heart for the world. As a result, all those on the path to becoming Christ-like are enriched together through shared experiences of the Kingdom as they learn to live responsively to Jesus’ kingship. Disciples greatly enjoy their fellowship with the Son and want others to experience such joy. The outcome of such a life flourishes with a love for God and others. It finds expression in acts of justice, mercy and kindness as a way to intentionally share the life they enjoy with Jesus as His disciple.
TRANSFORMED: A disciple is transformed under the influence and leadership of the Holy Spirit who is training his/her soul to listen to God through prayer, the Word, and the disciplines. Spiritual disciplines give the disciple a rhythm that forms an interdependence between an individual's life and others in a community supporting God's Kingdom purposes. The use of the word "disciplines" is intended to highlight the intentionality needed in the life of a disciple to cultivate their own relationship with God. As sensitivity to the influence of the Spirit grows their spiritual gifts become evident providing added benefits to the Body of Christ. As the disciple learns that abiding in Christ depends on time spent in personal and corporate reflection, the transforming work of the Spirit causes their life to be characterized by His fruit. Consistently practicing the disciplines is not the goal but a means to meet, nurture and cultivate a vibrant, interactive relationship with God.