WHAT DOES AN AUTHENTIC, FULLY-DEVOTED
FOLLOWER OF JESUS LOOK LIKE?
Authentic, fully-devoted followers of Jesus seek to demonstrate Christ’s love and teachings and make a holy impact on the world. They surrender everything to Christ and seek to live like him daily (1 Corinthians 12:7 and John 14:15) through the power of the Holy Spirit. Followers of Jesus love God completely (Matthew 22:35-38); treat everyone compassionately and justly (Matthew 22:39-40); and invite others to become disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). Jesus-followers are characterized by love, obedience, and self-sacrifice (and other fruits of the Spirit as described in Gal 5:22ff), qualities that enable them, like Jesus, to reach out to all kinds of people for the purpose of relationship. This relationship is one that brings people together in community with one another and with God for healing and wholeness.
Therefore, like first-century disciples (Acts 2:41-47), today’s disciples:
- Have faith in Jesus Christ. A disciple has genuinely received God’s saving grace through a personal and heartfelt faith in Christ and entered into holy covenant with God. The sacrament of baptism is the God-given sign of our covenant-relationship with God. True faith initiates an inward change and calls us to a growing relationship with Jesus Christ nurtured in Christian community. This inward change and personal relationship are manifested through regular and outward expressions of discipleship. (Baptism/Profession of Faith)
- Communicate their faith to others. A disciple gives witness to Jesus Christ in what he says and does and in so doing begins a process of inviting others into an ever deepening relationship with our Lord and Savior. (Sharing faith story and inviting non-Christians and nominal Christians to church gatherings, ministries, and other events)
- Foster authentic Christian community. A disciple gathers with other disciples to experience the blessing of authentic fellowship or community, which includes mutual relationships of openness, equality, support, accountability, care, enjoyment, prayer, study, and encouragement among other things. Holy Communion is God’s special way of regularly providing for us the holy experience of the divine-human community into which we are born through baptism. (Regular participation in your community group)
- Celebrate God. A disciple worships the Triune God through personal devotion and corporate gatherings. (Regular weekly attendance in worship)
- Cultivate a life of grace. A disciple practices the means of grace (including Bible study, prayer, fasting, and Communion) in order to sustain his ability to become like Christ, mature spiritually, and resist evil of every kind. (Regular weekly participation in a small group, and daily devotional time)
- Practice good stewardship. A disciple is a good steward of his resources and seeks to live a life characterized by giving and sharing, especially with those who have little or nothing. (Regular proportional giving to the church with tithing as a goal)
- Live a life of servanthood. A disciple serves people in humility, love, and compassion in order to express the love of Christ in tangible ways. It is best if this service derives from one’s giftedness and talents and is collaborated with the gifted efforts of others. (Regular participation in a ministry)