12 Qualities Of Discipleship From a Biblical Perspective
We as Christians want to share the good news and make disciples. I wanted to learn what the qualities of discipleship are so I researched the topic.
What are qualities of discipleship? Qualities of discipleship include going to share the Good News to non-believers, teaching, loving God, loving others, standing out, denying ourselves, being firm in God’s word, fellowship with other believers, imitators of Christ, dedicated, steadfast, and investing in missions.
Below we’ll highlight each quality of discipleship and how we can implement them in our lives to help further the Kingdom of God.
To make disciples we need to go, we can not stay in our comfort zones and hope to exemplify to others what it means to be a follower of Christ.
“Go 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.” —Matt. 28:19-20
We read in Matthew that Jesus commands us to go, as Christians, we don’t have the choice to stay still and watch from the sidelines, we are called to be active.
Reading the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19,20 we also hear the command, “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” We should be educating others on what we know about God and his word.
Looking in the Bible, Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus are for them to instruct those who do not know or do not understand the gospel. As we disciple others, we should take this command seriously and teach others to help them grow in their walks with Christ.
3. Love God
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. —Deuteronomy 6:5
This is a very important verse we should love God completely. We even see in the New Testament that Jesus reiterates this verse in Matthew when he is asked what the greatest commandment is. If we cannot love God completely then we cannot lead others to love God.
Disciples of the Lord must love Him with their whole heart. They must set aside idols and obsessions and give their whole heart to the Lord.
4. Love Others
We get to love others because Christ loved us, and with this love we want them to know about God’s plan for salvation. Jesus even tells us that the second greatest commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). Throughout the Old and New Testament, we see the need to care and love for others.
In John 13, Jesus says that we will be known as disciples of Jesus, and our love for others is what will set us apart. Our love for others is an important quality when discipling others.
5. Stand Out
As much as we sometimes want to fit in with the world around us, we as Christians should desire to stand out and truly look different so others know that we are followers of Christ.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. —Matthew 5:16
Jesus calls us a light we want to shine because of our actions and how we love one another. Our actions and how we set ourselves apart from the world will be a testimony to our faith sometimes more than the words we tell those we are discipling.
6. Denying Ourselves
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” —Luke 9:23
We as Christians, especially when we are discipling others, no longer live in a world that has a “me” mentality. Instead, we live for a bigger purpose as Christians to help share the gospel by making disciples.
Jesus encourages us in the New testament to “take up his cross.” We are not signing up for the easy life as Christians, but get to live as a part of God’s Kingdom and share the good news with others.
7. Firm in the Word of God
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” —John 8:31-32
God’s word is a guide for us as Christians and when we are rooted in the scripture then you can more effectively share the gospel and disciple others. When we abide in God’s word we can know God. The Bible is God’s word to us, any Church or Christian mentor will encourage you to dig into God’s word.
God communicates to us through His Word. Without knowing God through His Word, we cannot effectively teach others about the truth of the scripture and the benefit in our lives.
8. Fellowship with Other Believers
God created us with a need for relationships. Fellowship with other believers can help us in our Christian walk and can help those we disciple grow in their faith.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. —Acts 2:42
In the early church, we see an emphasis on fellowship. We see those in Acts regularly meet together break bread preach and fellowship, we do the same thing today in Church and are often involved in small groups.
The relationship we make in small groups helps us grow in our faith and we can gain much wisdom from those around us.
9. Imitators of Christ
Our goal as Christians is to be more Christ-like, in all that we do we want to look and act as Jesus did. When we look like Jesus we can help others to imitate Jesus as well.
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. —1 Corinthians 11:1
Paul encourages us to look at those of faith who imitate Christ and learn from them. We want to love the way Jesus loved, and to teach the way Jesus taught. It is amazing what we can learn from simply living as Jesus did, for others and not ourselves.
Reading through the Gospel we can see Jesus said some pretty hard things to his disciples. He let them know that he did not have a home-like other people and animals did, he told them that they needed to pick him over their family and that they would be persecuted because they followed Jesus.
When following Jesus and discipling others we need to be dedicated to what we are doing, we cannot give half-hearted work when teaching others. Jesus warned us what it would cost to follow him, and we need to keep this in mind when teaching others the importance of what it means to follow Christ.
Our walk with God will be met with many challenges but how we deal with these challenges will be an example of our faith.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. —1 Corinthians 15:58
Paul writes to the Church of Corinth and to Titus to be steadfast, he tells that our work for the Lord is not in vain. God will work through us even though we might not see it, this encourages us to be steadfast no matter what the circumstance.
Being a Christian is more than just exemplifying our faith on Sunday or Wednesday. We should always be on mission in our day to day life. If we do not live our life as Christ would every day we cannot be an example to those who are being discipled.
We are called to be watchful and to pray throughout scripture. Living on missions means looking for opportunities for the gospel all the time and exemplifying the life of Christ in all situations.
Looking at Jesus’ life and those whom he discipled gives us a good view of how the discipleship process should work today. We get to play a part in furthering the kingdom of God while living in a way and exemplifying the qualities of discipleship.
Kenneth E. Ortiz (M.Div.) is a professor and recruiter at Bethlehem College and a pastor at Cities Church in St. Paul, MN. He has 15+ years of vocational ministry experience. He’s also a podcaster, author, and Ph.D. student. Kenneth lives in Bloomington, MN with his wife Malaina, they have one daughter.