What the Early Church Can Teach Us About Discipleship

By Rachel Gardner

A crucial part of growing in your spiritual life is doing it with other people eager to do the same. It isn’t possible to achieve or experience encouragement, accountability, mentoring, and the joys of Christian fellowship without joining up with people.

Perhaps the best example of the fruit that comes from truly doing life with other believers is found in the early church.

Principles that framed and led to the success of the early church – such as truth, commonality, and boldness – can also be applied to discipleship today.

Truth

The disciples spoke truth to one another. Just as Peter stepped out and questioned Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5), let your people use their place of privilege in your life to speak as much truth into it as possible and keep you accountable to living in that truth.

The idea of being discipled could create feelings of anxiety about being seen and known fully by someone else. Yet, this vulnerability allows God to work in meaningful and profound ways. Life isn’t simple or superficial, so why should our conversations be?

Koinonia

In the New Testament, the Greek word koinonia was often used to define fellowship and commonality in Christian context. “Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common” (Acts 2:44, emphasis added).

Among the followers of Jesus, different points of view, whether from age or experience, lead to insight that might not otherwise be realized. Even the disciples who all literally walked with Jesus experienced Him in different ways.

No two faith journeys are alike, so discover those differences in each other. Listen, learn how God has worked and is working in their lives, and enjoy the discoveries that come from those open conversations.

Boldness

It might be daunting to think about discipling someone because you may not feel equipped for what seems like a lofty task. In Acts 4:31, the Holy Spirit intervened and gave the disciples the boldness that was required to share this radical, new gospel message.

That same boldness is accessible to us as Christians because we, too, are filled with the Holy Spirit!

Also Read: “How to Incorporate the Great Commission Into Your Life

Sharing your own narrative of God’s love in your life can be the most powerful story of all. When we talk about our experiences, transformations, hardships, and triumphs, rather than impersonal versions of the same things, we show others our willingness to enter into those honest, albeit difficult, conversations with people. Honesty shows you trust people and this can make them comfortable around you and give them a desire to share, too. This is the foundation for conversations that ultimately change lives.

Discipleship doesn’t have to be fancy or fit a certain mold. Simply give yourself to God and wait expectantly to see what He will do.

“And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women.” – Acts 2:44

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