Who counts as a disciple?

Who “counts” as a disciple? disciples
Did Peter qualify only after identifying Jesus as the Son of God?
It is a crucial question for Bridge Leaders who, enacting the Great Commission, “make disciples” where they live, work and play.
Ponderings from the Pavement: 
from Bruce Calkins, Bridge Leader & Support Group Leader
Here’s what I’m thinking (and praying) about related to disciple-making in my context:

I’ve been told “belonging comes before believing.”

I’ve noticed that a call to discipleship (or service) can come before there is an acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Bruce Calkins
A person’s belief system may be something like:
  • “I’m not sure there is a God”
  • or “All religions are pathways to the same God”
  • or “All religions are harmful to society.”
Persons who hold these beliefs may feel a call to service and a call to “make this a better world.” They may strongly endorse “the values that Jesus taught.” They may want to live by Jesus’ values and to help others to do so. If they’ve found a safe, trusting community, they may want to share that good news with others.
It seems like there can be a desire to share the Gospel even before discovering what the Gospel is.
My questions are:
  • When someone who has turned away from the Christian community and its teaching wants to serve others and change the world, how do we help that person experience God’s grace and love through Christ?
  • How can he or she do the work (or some of the work) of a disciple?
  • Does God want me to “make disciples” or to watch and see how God does it?
I’ll try to be Christ’s disciple while I’m pondering these questions. I expect God to surprise me again.
To enable Bridge Leaders to wrestle with these kinds of ministry questions in monthly support groups facilitated by leaders like Bruce, consider a quick gift to Bridges.

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