What is Discipleship?

In the YWAM community, the word discipleship is thrown around a lot.

The introductory program is a DISCIPLESHIP Training School after all.

But what does it mean to be discipled or to be a disciple?

In Jesus’ day he had the 12 disciples. Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, Thaddaeus, Simon and Judas.  These were the men that did life with Jesus.  The ones who got to glean from his teachings. They got to soak up the wisdom that he had gained through the deep, intimate relationship cultivated with God (of course acknowledging that he is God himself).  They got to learn from his teachings but also from the way he lived.  Much of what they gathered from Jesus was through his actions, outside of just the words he spoke.  From his actions, they learned the value of a servant heart.  They learned what it is to have compassion for others, to care for the orphaned, the widowed, and the poor.  They learned what it looked like to have a heart that was right before the Lord.  They learned to see God not just as Lord and master but also as a loving father, full of steadfast love. They learned these things and much more by hearing, but also by seeing and being invited into Jesus’ ministry.


They saw Jesus take time to get away from the crowds and the busyness of life to be alone with God. They saw Jesus casting out demons, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, loving sinful people, and standing up against the things of their culture that went against the heart of God.  They listened to him teach about the character and nature of God, and then saw him live out what it is to be a child of God. They saw these things happening right before their eyes and were welcomed into Jesus’ ministry to work alongside him and to learn from him.


We may not have Jesus right before our eyes but we have the word of God and the family of God.  For the Word of God is power to those who believe in Him. We can be discipled by the truth of the Bible and by gleaning wisdom from those who have spent time studying God’s truth, the only real truth. In Matthew 28:19-20  Jesus commandedGo therefore 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 observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Discipleship wasn’t just meant for the Disciples written of in the Bible but it was a direction for each of us, to be discipled and to disciple others, all the while training them up to disciple others.


Being discipled is not a process of getting our actions in line with the way a group of people or the church says we should act, but seeking to know God more and getting our hearts right before our sovereign God.  Discipleship is utilizing the community that God designed to bring us into a greater understanding of and relationship with Himself.


To be a disciple is to be teachable.  It is to humble ourselves and admit that we don’t have all the answers and that only God does.  It’s to seek out wisdom from those who have been walking with Christ longer or in a more intentional way.


For some this means joining a program like YWAM, for others it means seeking out a mentor in your local church or joining a campus ministry where you can walk alongside like-minded believers, learning from their experiences and their times with the Lord. The word discipleship is used 269 times in the New Testament, that must mean that God holds it in pretty high esteem.  We are called to Go and to be an influence in this world.  Let us be intentionally equipping ourselves along the way.  Whether your Go is to Go to Asia, the Middle East, the office, or the classroom, the great commission is for you.  “Go and make disciples of all nations….”


When you said yes to the Lord you embraced the gospel. This means no matter how much or how little you feel you know, you have a message of great value that you have been equipped to carry. Seeking discipleship will guide and empower you in your personal walk with the Lord and give you the tools and the confidence to carry your message well. It will further equip you to communicate the gospel to those in this world who are still at a loss, not knowing the steadfast love of the Lord.



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