How to Grow as a Disciple

By Freedom Corker

I am part of the Division on Ministries with Young People. Last summer, we talked about how our voices as young leaders could be shared in the UMC. Blog posts were one of our ideas. “How to Grow as a Disciple”, was the topic given to me. To find an answer, I sought the help of social media. I posted on Facebook and asked people to share their thoughts on how we grow as disciples of Jesus Christ.

Around 30 people responded, and I decided to group their answers and came up with one main thing. We grow as a disciple through our RELATIONSHIPS.

Relationship with Christ - Being a disciple means we are a follower of Christ, and in following Him, we must definitely know Him and establish a solid relationship with Him. What better way to know Christ, than to read His word? Read your Bible, pray every day, and you grow, grow, grow says our favorite Sunday school song. The young people of the Philippines’ motto summarizes it well “Christ above all”.

We grow as a disciple through our RELATIONSHIPS.

Relationship with the Community - Christ lived His life walking the streets and being with the people. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and sailed with fishermen. John 15:12 commands us to love as Christ has loved us and I believe this is our greatest calling as His disciples: to journey with our community, to stand with people who are experiencing injustices, to walk with the lost, last, and least, and to live a life that promotes God’s love for all. Luke 9:23 says “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me”.

Relationship with other disciples - Occhiolism is a word I learned when I attended this year’s DMYP meeting. It means “the awareness of the smallness of your perspective”. I have never been in a roomful of people that spoke diversity to me as much as that room did. We came from all over the world, and I was hyperaware of how diverse we are that even the minutest detail as ‘room temperature’ means something different for each of us. But despite the differences in culture, context, and opinions, I am blown away because we had so many beautiful conversations and I had a feeling of peace. I realized how small my perspective is but at the same time, I learned how we make an impact on a global scale and this is through the relationship that we have as a church.

We need our fellow disciples to be accountable with us and remind us to fix our eyes on Jesus.

Other disciples such as your church, family, friends, or colleagues, can also be your mentor on your lifelong journey and continuous process of discipleship. It is a journey, wherein we cannot neglect the reality that we can be tired, we may get lost, and that we will stumble every now and then. So we definitely need our fellow disciples to be accountable with us and remind us to fix our eyes on Jesus. As we say in Filipino “magpalakasan tayo”, meaning to encourage one another to keep moving forward.

This might all sound easy, but I trust you know that relationships aren’t always easy to maintain; however, inconvenience could also mean the beginning of growth. You remember when you hit puberty? When all your pimples showed and your pants are a little shorter than you would want them to be? Those things signify growth. Growing as a disciple takes hard work. And I pray that as we take these things into heart and put a little more effort into our relationship with Christ, our community, and our fellow disciples, that we may experience inconvenience; inconvenience that leads to growth.