What does a "mature" disciple of Jesus look like?
by Traver Dougherty
1) Primary life orientation centers on Jesus and his kingdom (e.g. Sermon on the Mount).
2) Sees the totality of his or her life as on mission with God, being sensitive to the Spirit's guiding.
3) Social status unimportant, views social groupings missiologically and often seeks reconciliation.
4) Primary allegiance to God's kingdom, not a human government (although appropriately submits to a human government).
5) Often suffers on account of Jesus and is willing to risk possible death and/or martyrdom.
6) Sees value in Christian leadership, submits accordingly, and provides leadership when necessary.
7) Adheres to Jesus' teachings and knows what those teachings (commands) are.
8) Life is lived to the fullest when God's goals are attained via the disciple's life.
9) Costly sacrifice is the norm, usually monetary.
10) Deeply involved in Christian community, will not leave community unless directed by God.
11) Relies on God for all needs continually and actually due to a perpetually sacrificial life.
12) Is humble, considers others better than self, gives others the advantage.
13) Genuinely loves an increasingly accurate understanding of God and demonstrates that love via obedience to Jesus's commands and intimate prayer.
Jesus commanded us to "make disciples," so it stands to reason that we'd better know what one looks like (at least in broad strokes). Although I know you're not perfect, here's a good question: Do the above thirteen qualities characterize your life? If not, why not? What needs to change? Remember, Paul the Apostle implores us, "...let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity..." (Heb 6:1).
My friend, Neil Cole, is right; we westerners have a tendency to be educated beyond our obedience. So, as we continue to move forward as the church of Jesus Christ, fluidly, organically, let's be soberly reminded that the quality of the ecclesia is only as good as the disciples of which she is made.
Traver Dougherty lives in Roseville, CA (Sacramento area) with his wife Aimee and two sons, Keith and Keagan. Before his encounter with the organic church, Traver served as a college pastor, missionary to the Philippines, conventional church planter, and senior pastor. Today, Traver equips organic church planters, functions as an elder in his own missional community of faith (The Banqueting Table), and serves as an adjunct professor of missiology at William Jessup University. www.tbtroseville.com. Archives of Traver's "Tid Bits for the Organic Church" articles HERE.