All Campuses  |  Published on December 31, 1969



Disciples are followers of Jesus. They have turned from their sin and trusted in Jesus as their Savior. They have died to themselves and surrendered their lives to Him as Lord. Christ now lives in them, transforming everything about them from the inside out. There are several marks of this transformation. The first, a transformed heart, occurs when a disciple places initial faith in Jesus. The rest are found in increasing measure as a disciple grows through faith in Jesus as a member of his body, the church. (Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 1:17; Luke 6:40; Romans 8:29)

There are six primary marks of a disciple of Jesus:

  1. Transformed Heart

    Disciples are spiritually regenerate; God has forgiven their sin and God’s Spirit now indwells them. By supernatural grace through saving faith in Christ, disciples have been acquitted before God the Judge and adopted by God the Father. Such gracious generation has triggered a transformation in every disciple of Jesus. Having been brought from death to life, disciples are new creations who now live as servants of the King and heirs of his kingdom. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, they grow in holiness as God gradually transforms them into the image of Christ from one degree of glory to another. Disciples hold fast to the sure hope of full and final glorification with Christ. (John 3:1-8; Titus 3:4-8, 8:1; 1 Peter 1:3-9, 22-25)

    Bottom Line – To be a disciple you must first be born again. Evangelism resulting in biblical conversion is the essential first step in biblical discipleship.

  2. Transformed Mind

    Disciples are biblically grounded; they believe what Jesus says. Disciples of Jesus trust the truth of Jesus and view the world around them through the lens of God’s Word. As disciples abide in Jesus, reading, hearing, studying, understanding, memorizing, and meditating on God’s Word daily, He molds their minds to become like his. They are continually renewed in knowledge after the image of their Creator. (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 119; Mark 12:30; Luke 24:44-45; Romans 12:1-21; 1 Corinthians 2:14-16; Ephesians 4:17-24; Colossians 3:1-17)

    Bottom Line – Disciples of Jesus are passionate about the Bible. It completely reshapes the way they think, as the worldview of the Bible becomes their worldview. They approach the Bible with a pre-commitment to believe, understand, and obey everything it teaches. They learn the big picture of the Bible, and they interpret individual parts in the context of the whole.

  3. Transformed Affections

    Disciples are deeply satisfied; they desire what Jesus desires. Their spiritual pursuit has led them to Jesus, who has not only saved them from their sin but also satisfied their souls. Disciples, therefore, grow to participate in spiritual disciplines not out of a sense of duty, but out of a sense of delight; enjoying the exaltation of God in worship, craving communion with God in prayer, hungering for God’s Word more than daily food, confessing sins with grateful contrition, and loving God’s glory more than their own lives. Such love for God continually pushes out love for the things of this world. Disciples daily crucify the desires of the flesh as they bear the fruit of the Spirit and long for the return of the Son. (Matthew 10:34-39, 22:35-40; Luke 16:13; John 12:25; Philippians 4:8; 1 Timothy 3:3-6, 9-10; 2 Timothy 2:22, 4:10; Titus 1:8; Hebrews 13:5; 1 John 2:15-17)

    Bottom Line – Disciples of Jesus grow to love what He loves, value what He values, and hate what He hates. Their affections are set on the things of God, and those affections grow to supersede the attractions of sin and the things of this world. They grow to obey God out of desire, not simply out of duty.

  4. Transformed Will

    Disciples are humbly obedient; they do what Jesus commands. Disciples of Jesus do not merely hear the Word and so deceive themselves; they do what it says. Disciples see imperatives in the Scriptures as invitations from the Savior to experience the joy of active submission to Him. The more they walk according to God’s Word, the more Jesus conforms their ways to His will. (Matthew 28:18-20; John 14:15; Romans 1:5; 1 Peter 1:2; James 1:22-25; 1 John 5:3)

    Bottom Line – Disciples of Jesus obey God by obeying everything His Word teaches. They do not obey in order to make themselves right with God or to add anything at all to the work of Christ, but out of the faith, hope, and love that flow from the Gospel.

  5. Transformed Relationships

    Disciples love sacrificially; they serve as Jesus serves. Having been reconciled to God through Christ, disciples continually work toward reconciliation with others in Christ: forgiving one another freely and serving one another selflessly. Disciples of Jesus join together as members of local churches where they love one another by laying down their lives for each other. Such sacrificial compassion extends beyond the local church as disciples care for their families, the global church, the lost, and the poor. (Matthew 5:43-48, 22:37-40; Luke 6:27-36; John 13:34-35, 15:12-17; Romans 13:8-10; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Galatians 5:13-26; Ephesians 4:1-6, 5:1-2; 1 John 3:11-18, 4:7-21)

    Bottom Line – Disciples of Jesus love one another as Christ has loved them and love their neighbors as themselves. This love expresses itself practically in forgiveness and service, even to their enemies. Their love includes their church, their families, the global body of Christ, the lost, and the poor.

  6. Transformed Purpose

    Disciples are missionally engaged; they make disciples who make disciples of all nations. Compelled by God’s grace, disciples are captivated by the Great Commission. Jesus has not only transformed their way of life; He has revolutionized their reason for living. Disciples live – and die – to share the gospel of Christ, to reproduce the life of Christ, to teach the Word of Christ, and to serve the world for Christ by praying for, giving to, and going to people around the world for the sake of God’s fame. (Matthew 28:16-20; Luke 24:44-49; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; Romans 15:18-24)

    Bottom Line – Disciples of Jesus share the gospel, disciple other believers, and engage in the global spread of the gospel to all peoples.

  7. Information from the IMB Foundations Equipping Handbook


    Why Evangelism?

    The essence of evangelism is telling others what Jesus has done for us. The word evangelism simply means, “to proclaim the good news.”

    Evangelism does not come naturally for many believers. However, through scripture we see why we should engage in sharing our faith.

    Here are four brief Biblical reasons:

    • God’s Glory
      The reason for doing evangelism is the same reason for our existence – to bring glory to God. (1 Peter 2:9)
    • People Are Lost
      Satan blinds people to the Gospel, holding them hostage and separated from the love of God. (2 Corinthians 4:4)
    • We are Christ’s Ambassadors
      2 Cor. 5:18-20 touches on the responsibility of being entrusted with this role.
    • Our Joy
      When we truly delight in something, the way in which we complete our joy is to tell others! If you are enjoying your walk with Christ, you should be compelled to share with another.
      At the heart of the motivation, there are three different parties who may benefit from evangelism – God, the lost, and you!
    What is the Gospel?

    There are many ways to communicate the gospel message or share Christ through our personal stories and testimony. However, as we communicate with others, we must not leave out the essential truths of this beautiful news.

    For a quick reference, below are the basic components to the Gospel:

    • Problem
      The problem is sin. In Greek, the word sin literally means to “miss the mark”. We all fall short of perfection or pure holiness and most people will acknowledge that. (Romans 3:23)
    • Penalty
      The Bible says the payment for sin is death – eternal spiritual separation from God. (Romans 6:23)
    • Provision
      Christ has paid the penalty for our sin by His death on the cross.
      Each person needs to place their faith in Christ as their Savior and accept that He has paid the price for their sin.

    Practice the evangelism method you and your team will be using during this trip at least 3 times before your next meeting! The more comfortable you are before you leave, the easier it will be for you to share your faith while on the mission field.


    Prayer is communing with God. It is not just asking for things; it is fellowship and conversation with your Heavenly Father. As a follower of Jesus, you are a child of God. As your Heavenly Father, God wants to spend time alone with you in conversation. He is interested in you and wants you to talk with Him.

    As you begin praying for your team, your upcoming trip, and the people group you will be ministering to, think about these things:

    What is prayer?
    It is a privilege. The God who dwells in eternity created men so they may fellowship with Him at any time. This is indeed the highest privilege – that, as a child of God, you can have fellowship with God daily.
    It is personal. Matthew 6:6 begins, “When you pray…” Prayer is personal between the Redeemer and the redeemed. Jesus instructs us to be alone with God. Prayer is between you and God.

    Why do we need to pray?

    • God has commanded it (See Luke 18:1; Jeremiah 33:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:16). God desires this obedience from His children.
    • Jesus prayed (See Mark 1:35; Luke 6:12). Our Lord filled His life with prayer and was completely dependent upon the Father. If Jesus considered prayer to be that important to devote so much time to it, then we as His disciples must do likewise.
    • Prayer helps believers know the fullness of joy (See John 16:24). When we pray, our joy is made full. His joy becomes our joy; we can then experience it in our Christian life.
    • Prayer ushers in God’s wisdom and guidance. (See James 1:5). If you lack the wisdom and understanding of what God desires you to do, then ask Him to show you.
    • Through prayer, you can find grace in time of need (See Hebrews 4:16). God invites you to come boldly to His throne of grace. You will find his mercy ready to help. He delights in His children coming, for His grace is sufficient to meet every need.
    • Prayer gives power over sin and Satan (See Ephesians 6:10-18; Matthew 26:41). Your battle against Satan is spiritual warfare, and part of the armor to fight back is prayer. Through prayer, you can resist and rebuke Satan.
    • E.M. Bounds says, “You can’t rightly talk to men about God until you first talk to God about men.” What Bounds is saying is that our efforts to share the Gospel should begin with and be saturated in prayer. So, how should we pray for the lost?

      Pray that:

      • God would open their eyes to the truth of the Gospel.
        In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:4)
      • They would seek to know God.
        He did this so that they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. (Acts 17:27)
      • They would believe the Scriptures.
        For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is the power of God to us who are being saved. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
      • God draws them to Himself.
        No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:44)
      • The Holy Spirit works in their lives.
        When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. (John 16:13)
      • God would send someone (possibly you!) to lead them to Christ.
        Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38)
      • They confess Christ as Savior and Lord.
        If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. (Romans 10:9-10)

      How can I pray as I prepare for my trip? Pray that:

      • God would be glorified by every aspect of the trip
      • The unconditional love of God would radiate in and through each of our lives
      • God would give us a spirit of unity
      • Everyone would be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit
      • God’s word would be proclaimed with power
      • God would give us strength and good health
      • God would protect and provide for family back home
      • Divine appointments would be given to share the Gospel and encourage others
      • All team members would be bold and creative in sharing our faith and making disciples

      Share your prayer requests as you prepare for your mission trip with your life group and discipleship group!

      Share and Discuss