Here’s a definition of discipleship I came up with one day as I was thinking about the subject.
The (intentional) influence on the life of another person that helps them grow spiritually, becoming more like Christ in their character, with the purpose of reproducing themselves in the life of others.
There are a few assumptions made by this definition:
- This influence is intentional? Although not necessarily true, it will be true for those who willingly enter into a discipleship relationship. There’s a lot of influence that takes place unintentionally.
- Our life and influence is the kind that helps them grow spiritually. This implies an imitable life. A life that helps people grow. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who have influence who are not worthy of imitation.
- The person on the receiving end has the desire to be more like Christ (i.e. make the necessary changes). You can be influenced without your desire, but you will not be changed to be like Christ without this desire personally.
- The person’s change will reproduce itself in others. The change in me will affect those I influence. Will I reproduce myself? That is the goal, allowing the discipleship process to be repeated in others.
Here are a few observations:
- Every one of us leave a part of who we are in the life of the people with whom we spend time.
- The more time you spend with other people, the more like you they will be.
- Disciples learn through both seeing and listening.