What Is a Disciple?

What is a disciple? In every church I’ve served, we spent time discussing this question. I wish I could say the answers have all been the same, but different people have different definitions of what a disciple really is. I would also love to say to you right now, “I know the answer and here it is,” but I hate disappoint.

Here is what I do know…we are called to make disciples. In Matthew 28:19-20, we find the ‘Great Commission’. It says, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew is clear that Jesus sends us to make disciples of all nations through baptism and teaching – sacrament and education. For many Christians, that’s it…that’s the list.

But years ago, I read a great book by Mortimer Arias and Alan Johnson called, “The Great Commission: Biblical Models for Evanglism”. In it, they lay out a broader understanding of evangelism and disciple making by looking at the Great Commission from each of the four Gospels (did you know each Gospel has its own Great Commission?). It gives us a broader scope of what disciple making looks like.  (And please don’t judge too harshly if you feel I over-syntesize/simplify Arias/Johnson…)

Matthew’s Great Commission is a focus on Growth. We are called to teach disciples to obey what Jesus has commanded. Mark’s Great Commission is a focus on Proclamation/Preaching. Mark 16:15 says, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.” Luke’s Great Commission is a focus on Jubilee and reconciliation (with God and neighbor). Luke 4:16-30 sets the stage for Jubilee and Luke 24:47 gives the commission, “repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed to all nations…” Finally, John’s Great Commission sends us to be the Divine Presence of Christ to the world. In John 20:23, Jesus says, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

Proclamation, Growth, and the Divine Presence of Christ to the world bringing Jubilee, reconciliation and wholeness to a world in need. Whatever a disciple is supposed to be, these are the core elements.


In keeping with the divine mandate, Chapelwood is fulfilling our mission of making disciples of all nations through experiencing God in worship, growing through education, and sharing through mission.

A disciple’s path should include EXPERIENCING God in worship in one of the Sanctuary, Mercy Street, Esperanza, Upper Room, and Contemplative worship services. Mark’s Great Commission of Proclamation is lived out!

A disciple’s path should include GROWING in knowledge by finding a place to grow in God’s Word. Matthew’s Great Commission of Teaching is lived out!

A disciple’s path should include SHARING our faith by becoming the hands and feet of Christ. We bring Jubilee, reconciliation, and the divine presence of Christ to places where people need hope and healing. Luke and John’s Great Commissions are lived out!


It’s not just an ad campaign. It’s not just a creative email or website. EXPERIENCE, GROW, SHARE is the path of becoming a disciple and making a disciple!

Join us on this journey… and if you are Chapelwood member/attendee, visit, www.experiencegrowshare.com today and get plugged in.

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