6 Critical Practices of a Disciple

by Jon Rhiddlehoover on

Articles 5 min read
John 10:27 Matthew 28:19–20

All people who have professed faith in Jesus Christ, making Him the Lord of their lives, have the responsibility to then live as disciples. At the most basic level, a disciple is a learner, one who is taught by another person and follows their example. One author writes that a disciple is one who is following Jesus, being changed by Jesus, and is committed to Jesus’ kingdom work.

The following are are 6 critical practices of disciples of Jesus Christ.

  1. Total devotion to Jesus – Jesus teaches His followers that if a person truly wants to be a disciple, they must daily deny themselves and follow him (Luke 9:23). That means that Jesus must be central in your heart. This is evidenced by always seeking the Lord’s best for your day. You might ask the question, “What do you want for me today, Lord?” That is a much different question than the typical prayer, “Here is what I want, Lord, please help me have it.” He wants your heart and your plans, totally.

  2. Bible Study – “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Bible is the essential guidebook for every growing disciple. As a disciple diligently studies the Scriptures, they grow in their knowledge and relationship with the Lord. They also begin to understand their life purpose as devoted disciples aligned with the mission of God.

  3. Prayer – Prayer is an expression of worship in the life of a disciple. Prayer leads followers of Jesus Christ to the throne of grace with confidence in our King who gives freely mercy and grace in times of need (Hebrews 4:16). The attention one places on prayer indicates the level of richness of relationship between that disciple and the Lord. Prayer rightly aligns a disciple’s heart with the heart of Jesus.

  4. Community – Healthy Christian community strengthens disciples as they seek to live the life for which they have been called. You were not created to live your life alone. The Holy Spirit wrote through Moses that it is not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18). You need a community of disciples with a diversity of backgrounds and giftings with whom you can share life, read the Bible, and live out the mission of God to make disciples.

  5. Evangelism – The love of Jesus that brought you into a relationship with Him, leading you to eternal life, is a message that must be shared. The story of God’s transformation of your heart should be the story that you are most excited to share with others. We have been called, as Jesus’ disciples, to share the good news of the coming kingdom and the present King Jesus with all people. This calling allows us to carry the message that will lead to kingdom expansion as the Lord saves more and more people around us each day.

  6. Multiplication – Jesus called His disciples, including you and me, to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that he had commanded them, and to do it with the full knowledge that the Lord goes before them (Matthew 28:19-20). He has given you a clear call to multiply yourself in other Christians. To be a disciple is to help more people become disciples and catch the same vision. How else will Christians be a part of the mission of God in the world?

Being a disciple is a lifelong journey that will have its ups and downs along the way. The disciples of the New Testament set an example of devotion in the way they dropped their current lifestyles in order to obediently follow Jesus. They were taught the Scriptures and learned what it meant to pray. They saw the value in building community with Jesus and each other. They followed the commands of Jesus to go out with authority, share the good news of the kingdom, and call people to repent and believe (Mark 6:7-12). Finally, Jesus called them to go and make more disciples throughout all nations, multiplying themselves and teaching new disciples to do the same (Matthew 28:19-20).

Where are you in your journey as a disciple? Are these critical practices of discipleship areas that need more of your time and attention? Ask the Lord how you might take next steps to enrich your walk as a disciple in these areas. Remember, you don't have to do it all on your own. The Lord has given you other disciples to walk with you as you pursue holiness and seek to accomplish His mission. The Holy Spirit will also convict, strengthen, and direct you along the way. The greatest blessing along the journey of being a disciple is the promise that the Lord will always be with you until the end of the age.

About the Author

Jon Rhiddlehoover (MA in Christian Education, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the Lead Community Pastor at Central Bible Church and Director of the Central Storehouse food pantry.