What Discipleship Looks Like

What Discipleship Looks Like (Part I)

Sam DiStefano Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development 0 Comments

One of our desires at BASIC is to be relevant and connect you with content that is going to best help you as you serve your campus and ministry context! In an effort to bring in fresh perspective and new ideas, we have asked a few student leaders and advisors to share their voice! We’ll get to hear from one of them each month. This week, we have the honor of hearing from Nicole Ingersoll.

Nicole IngersollNicole Ingersoll is the current Assistant Advisor at the University at Buffalo. When Nicole went off to college, she wanted nothing to do with a Christian community, but BASIC did a 180 on her perspective of the church and she now realizes how integral it is to her faith. As a result, Nicole has a huge passion for college students and loves being able to serve them through BASIC. She deeply believes that God uses the things that used to hold us down, to draw us closer to him. Nicole majored in Human Resources Management at UB and currently works as a Benefits Administrator at Baker Victory Services in Lackawanna, NY. A few random facts about Nicole is that she loves to play guitar and sing, her favorite flowers are sunflowers, and she was bit by an Emu as a child (yes, that really happened). This is what she had to share.

Discipleship is a word that a lot of Christians throw around. Leaders use it to teach their students. Students use it when connecting with their peers. But what does it actually mean? What does discipleship look like?

I found two definitions of Discipleship, the first being “Discipleship is the relationship between a teacher (discipler) and student (disciple).” This is a concept that most of us can identify with because we saw it demonstrated in real life at school. Another definition states, “one who gives full loyalty and support to another.” What I love about both of these definitions is that they both involve TWO people. Not one person, doing something to better themselves, but two people. Simply put, discipleship is a relationship. You don’t need a proper degree in ministry or theology. All you need is a relationship with other people and a relationship with God.

Missional Call

When Paul is writing to Timothy, he starts by talking about the grace and mercy that the Lord has shown him. 1 Timothy 1:12 states, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.” It then continues in 1 Timothy 1:14, “The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”

It is clear in these verses, that Paul realizes that Jesus has given him so much. His thankfulness compels him to action and a missional life. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.  Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:16)

In this verse, Paul calls himself “the worst of sinners.” If I had a penny, for every time that I thought I was the worst in God’s eyes, I would be rich. So many of us can identify with Paul here. But he isn’t saying it in a way to condemn himself. He uses the things he hates about himself and his past to relate to those around him. He uses those things to bring Glory to God.

Paul realized that his testimony and journey had a purpose because of the grace he had been shown. He realized that he could relate to those who also sinned, because he was not perfect and yet Jesus Christ was continuing to work in his life. You have to realize that your testimony is your story. It’s your opportunity to share with others what Christ has done in your life.

Having a relationship with Christ, and understanding the purpose that that relationship then puts on your life is the first step in discipleship. You need to truly, passionately, believe in the call on your life.

Honoring God with Our Lives

Along with our missional call, we are called to strive to honor God with every part of our life.

“Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.  For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.” 1 Timothy 4:7-10

Discipleship takes work, it says in that verse that we labor and we strive, but that we do it because we believe in our God. A few times in the Bible, it brings up the fact that Timothy is younger. But he doesn’t let this stop him from the call that Jesus has put on his life to share his story and the word of God.

1 Timothy 4:12 declares, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” Our age is not an excuse. We can be used by God to do great things, just like Timothy! We need to actively try to live in a way that honors God and his word.

Once you believe in the call on your life and have made the choice to honor God in all you do then you have a responsibility to disciple others. I’ll have more on that next week so check back for some practical tips on sharing your story and pouring into relationships in Part II!

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About the Author

Sam DiStefano

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Sam DiStefano went to school at SUNY Geneseo and earned a degree in Childhood with Special Education. It was at college, through BASIC, that she learned what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. In June 2014, she joined on staff with BASIC and planted a chapter at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY that fall. BASIC has deeply affected Sam’s life and she feels called to help other students experience freedom and hope in Christ.