The DNA of Christian Discipleship

By Rev Dr Clive Chin

What is biblical discipleship? Those who follow Jesus by faith are known as his disciples. Scripture does not make a distinction between Christians who are “normal believers” and disciples who are “super Christians”. We are either following Jesus as his disciples or we are not; there is no middle ground (Matt. 12:30).

I believe that discipleship flows directly from being a disciple of Jesus to helping others follow Jesus. Disciples are called to follow Christ, and following him means helping others follow him. The DNA of Christian discipleship involves a call to both imitate and to replicate him. As disciples, we are called to imitate Jesus’ love (John 13:34), his mission (Matt. 4:19), his humility (Phil. 2:5), his service (John 13:14), his suffering (1 Peter 2:21), and his obedience to the Father (1 John 2:3-6). 

As we follow our Lord, we quickly learn that part of imitation is replication. Having a personal relationship with Jesus is important, but it is incomplete if it ends with us. Part of being his follower is to intentionally help others learn from him and become more like him. Making disciples happens in two specific ways. First, we are called to evangelise those in our families, workplaces, and among the nations (Matt. 28:19-20). The second aspect of making disciples is helping other believers grow in Christ-likeness. We do this by instructing one another in biblical truth so we may live it out. Discipleship does not just happen. We need to be intentional about cultivating deep relationships in Christian community. 

Our church intends to promote a culture of discipleship where, starting with Elders, Pastors, and Deacons, the effort of disciple-making is cascaded down to our people, using Small Groups as the main channel of equipping, building community, and pastoral care. Currently, we have already begun laying the foundations of this strategy through the discipling of our Elders, Pastors, and Deacons this year. God-willing, by early 2022, they will begin to take on the responsibilities of discipling the Small Group Leaders, who will in turn disciple their group members. Through this, we hope to develop a DNA of Christian discipleship in ORPC where every member is involved in discipling or being discipled, as the Lord calls us to.