Discipleship & Disciple-making in the Wesleyan Tradition

By Steve Manskar

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Christ at Emmaus (Rembrandt). Public Domain.

Who is a disciple of Jesus Christ? How are disciples made?

The answers to these questions are found in Scripture, the Baptismal Covenant, and the General Rules.

Jesus describes the nature of discipleship in all the synoptic gospels by saying:

"If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23).

John Wesley preferred Luke's version, I suspect because he is the only writer who has Jesus insisting that discipleship is a daily endeavor. It is a way of life. Discipleship requires daily practice of self-denial, cross-bearing, imitation of Jesus. He summarized the cross-bearing life in Matthew 22:37-40,

'“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’

How are disciples made? The Baptismal Covenant and the General Rules provide the road map for the congregation's mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The Baptismal Covenant describes what it means to be a Christian. The General Rules provide guidance for living as a Christian in the world. There is direct correlation between each of the three baptismal questions and the three General Rules.

I've written about how they work together in a series of posts on Alan Bevere's blog:

The General Rules and the Baptismal Covenant: Part 1 of 3

The General Rules and the Baptismal Covenant: Part 2 of 3

The General Rules and the Baptismal Covenant: Part 3 of 3