Tom Julien lists ten prerequisites for effective discipleship:
- Discipleship is the work of the Lord through the Holy Spirit. Discipleship is not what we do for the Lord, but what He does through us. John 14:25-26, Colossians 1:29
- The goal of discipleship is spiritual transformation. Conformity is outside-in; transformation is inside-out. Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 3:18
- All true discipleship must be bathed in dependent prayer. Paul prayed continually for his disciples. Ephesians 1:16, Colossians 1:9, Philippians 1:9-11
- The purpose of discipleship is knowing the Lord, not simply knowing about Him. We are to abide in Him as He abides in us. John 15:4, Philippians 3:10-11
- Effective discipleship emanates from love for the disciple. The focus of discipleship is the disciple, not the process. 1 Corinthians 13:1
- All discipleship must be based on the Word of God. The discipler must correctly handle the Word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15, 3:16
- Effective discipleship focuses on the entire person: knowing, being, doing. We must instruct, as teachers: 1 Thessalonians 4:1. We must model, as mentors: 1 Thessalonians 1:6. We must involve, as coaches: 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12
- Effective discipleship recognizes the spiritual value and giftedness of the disciple. The Lord gives to the Church those who are gifted for significant ministry. Ephesians 4:16
- Discipleship, as every aspect of ministry, involves spiritual warfare. Discipleship is always opposed by spiritual forces. Ephesians 6:8-10, Matt. 13:19
- Effective discipleship results in reproduction. Every disciple is commissioned by the Lord to make disciples of others. Matthew 28:18-20, 2 Timothy 2:2.
Editor’s Note: Tom Julien is the equipping pastor at the Winona Lake, Ind., Grace Brethren Church, and director emeritus of Encompass World Partners. He and his late wife, Doris, served as missionaries for many years in France. He has authored several books, including The Three Princes (BMH Books, 2011).
This first appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of GraceConnect magazine, the publication for the people of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. A downloadable pdf version of this issue is available by clicking here. It also may be read online at issuu.com. If you would like to receive the magazine delivered to you at no charge via U.S. Mail, click here to subscribe.