Mature Disciples – What Does This Really Mean?

“Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.”  Ephesians 4:15

The mission of the United Methodist Church is to make and mature disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  Our mission is inspired by The Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20.  Jesus commissions us to go and make disciples of all nations.  In the church when we talk about growing as disciples we talk about spiritual maturity.  Do you ever wonder what this really means?

What is a mature disciple?  What do we mean when we talk about maturing in Christian discipleship?

Listed below are some characteristics of mature disciples.  Read through these qualities and spend some time exploring the related scriptures.  What do you learn from these scriptures about the journey of growing as a mature disciple?  What characteristics would you add to the list?

  • Clear evidence of growth in faith
  • Commitment to spiritual disciplines and practices that support and encourage faith development
  • Reaching out in service and ministry to others in the community
  • Seeking faith sharing opportunities
  • A generous heart toward God in their giving and use of their spiritual gifts
  • Evidence that the living presence of Christ is in them  (we see the Fruit of the Spirit emerging from their lives)
  • Aware of and seeking to be faithful to the Great Commission and the Greatest Commandment (love God and neighbor)
  • Seeks God’s will first without any concern for personal preferences; desiring whatever God desires and wanting only those things that will further the Kingdom; possessing understanding and insight into things of the Kingdom.
  • Walking and living in step with the Holy Spirit; laying aside personal preferences and not at all concerned with what makes one happy or what makes one feel good; focused on the leading of the Spirit.
  • Integrates faith and life; seeing work, family, social relationships, and political choices as part of one’s religious life
  • An overall attitude that resembles and represents Christ to others

 Additional Scripture Readings:     Galatians 5:22-26     Hebrews 12:5-7    John 15:16     Acts 20:32           Hebrews 12:2         James 1:2-4        Jude 1:20         1 Corinthians 3:2          Hebrews 5:12-14     Matthew 6:10,33       Colossians 3:1-16

 “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To him be glory both now and forever!” 2 Peter 3:18

 John 8:31 “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.”

In what ways is God calling you to grow in your faith?  What steps might God be leading you to take to help you in this process?  Get involved in a small group and find a trusted friend to give you some honest feedback and help you to be accountable as you seek to grow as a mature disciple.  Developing relationships and sharing with others is an important part of your faith journey. Remember also that you are not alone on this journey.  Jesus promises to be with us always!

Click on the ‘leave a comment’ link below and share your thoughts and questions as to what  growing as a mature disciple means to you!


About faithumchurch

Spiritual Formation Director at Faith United Methodist Church in North Canton, Ohio
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