What is Discipleship?

Discipleship is a term tossed around in Christian circles, but what does it mean? Discipleship is the process of following Jesus, becoming more like Him, and helping others do the same.

To clarify, a disciple is someone who is a follower of Jesus. People who participate in discipleship or as we call them, disciplemakers, help others know Jesus so they can, too, become disciples and disciplemakers.

Disciplemakers have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

The first mark of a disciplemaker is someone who has developed a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This involves accepting Him as your Lord and Savior and committing your life to Him. There are many ways to learn about Jesus, The Navigators even offer ways to connect and learn about faith. Your story coming to faith matters as a discipleship because it becomes the testimony you share with the people you disciple. It can become one avenue for sharing the gospel.

Sharing the gospel can take many forms. It can involve personal conversations, sharing your testimony, or inviting others to church. At The Navigators, we use a life-to-life discipleship model. We invest in personal relationships by equipping discipleships with resources. Our field staff go after the one and share life together. This includes conversations, meetings at events, or even in the workplace. We’ve even had staff disciple people at comic book shops and in unreached places worldwide! The possibilities are endless!

Disciplemaker help build a foundation.

Once someone has accepted Christ as their Savior, disciplemakers help them build a foundation in their faith. At The Navigators, we provide resources for new believers to help them continue to discover how Jesus is working in their life. Resources like our CORE courses, or Topical Memory System for memorizing Bible verses, or the Wheel illustration and so much more. We know that becoming a Christian is a big step, and we don’t want new believers to feel like they are left hanging. 

Disciplemakers start a chain reaction.

Disciplemaking can repeat from one person to the next, starting a chain reaction. This is the beauty of life-to-life discipleship. Once one person develops a disciple, then that new disciple can disciple another, and on and on. This model is how The Navigators have operated for over 90 years!

It started with the founder of The Navigators, Dawson Trotman. He discipled naval soldiers and after one soldier came to faith in Jesus he wanted to introduce his comrades to Dawson so they could also learn. But Dawson saw how this soldier could use his experience and disciple those men himself. From 1933 and on, this chain reaction has continued. 

Becoming a disciplemaker.

Any follower of Christ can become a disciplemaker. In fact as followers of Christ it’s part of our duty to help others learn about Jesus. At The Navigators we empower and equip disciplemakers with resources, trainings and more. But it’s not necessary to become a disciplemaker. You can start by investing in one person and teaching them what you’ve learned. If you’re interested in forming a personal ministry of your own and discipling full-time or part-time, then joining staff with The Navigators may be for you.

If you are looking for a way to get plugged in and discipled, we can help connect you with a local staff member or through a digital avenue.

Whether you choose to disciple with help from an organization like The Navigators or another way, we hope you better understand what discipleship is and how it is an essential part of spreading the Gospel.