3 Reasons We Care About Discipleship

June 4, 2015 by Brett Tarbell in Bible and Gospel Advancement

What is discipleship? Why is it so important? Why do we care so much about Bible and Gospel Development?

Here are three (of many!) reasons we support discipleship training:

1. The Word “Christian” Implies Discipleship

Where does the term “Christian” come from, anyway? Shortly after Jesus Christ left this earth, his followers were mockingly labeled “Christians” by the pagan world around them. The term was used to describe those who put their trust in Jesus and followed him – crazy foolish in the world’s eyes for living with upside-down priorities.

If we call ourselves Christians, we had better own up to it. To the world, the term means going to church or living a moral (and perhaps hypocritical) life. True Christians, however, are those who are dedicated disciples of Christ. They live by his words. They find life in him alone. This complete trust in Christ for salvation, guidance and purpose is the mark of true Christian discipleship, and helping believers grow in this area is one of Open Doors’ core commitments.

2. Jesus Tells Us To Make Disciples

We believe that when Jesus, the living Son of God, tells us to do something, it’s best to listen. Let’s consider his parting words in Matthew 28:18-20:

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Here, Jesus tells us to:


Make disciples.

Baptize them.

Teach them.

Notice that this call to discipleship includes baptizing and teaching disciples to follow Jesus’ commands. Leading people to Jesus and then leaving them to go it alone isn’t true discipleship. Jesus says so. This is why Open Doors provides persecuted believers access to Bibles, teaching, Christian literature and evangelism/ ministry training. Jesus cares about discipleship.

3. True Disciples Make More Disciples

In and of ourselves, we can do nothing for God. Our best works apart from him are filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). This is not to say that Jesus’ disciples cannot do good works. True disciples rely on Jesus for their righteousness and strength, and realize that God uses their weaknesses for his glory. We see this to be true when God works through disciples of Jesus to create new disciples of Jesus.

As disciples grow in biblical faith, knowledge and relationship with their Savior, he begins to use them as beacons of life and light in a world of death and darkness. By equipping believers to give a reason for the hope that is in them (1 Peter 3:15), Open Doors is equipping them to share the gospel with others in their families, communities and the entire world.

Open Doors works to support persecuted believers

Feel called to partner with us as we disciple persecuted believers around the world? Here’s how:

Please continue to pray for our efforts to disciple believers in countries where faith costs the most.

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Give a gift towards Bible and Gospel Development today, and know that persecuted believers rejoice in thanks to God for your support!