Training Disciples - Part 2

What is an adequate description of a mature and equipped follower of Christ? (part 2)


Randy Pope

President of Life on Life Ministries



Now the big challenge is what is the description of a mature and equipped follower of Christ? There’s no definition in the Bible, as I said earlier, there really isn’t. And so, what would that description be? I started, and I can’t tell you how much time I spent just thinking and thinking and writing down and erasing until I came up with a description of a mature and equipped follower of Christ.

Would I say it’s the greatest description, or perfect, not at all. But, it was an adequate description to help us move where we needed to move. Let me give you that description. I’ll simply read it to you.

Matured and equipped followers of Christ are those who are living consistently under the control of the Holy Spirit, the direction of the Word of God, and the motivation of the love of Christ. They have discovered, developed, and are using their spiritual gifts. They have learned to effectively share their faith in a winsomely engaging way. They give evidence of being a faithful member of God’s church, an effective manager of life, relationships, and resources, a willing minister to others, including the least of these, and an available messenger to non-kingdom people. And lastly, demonstrate a life characterized as gospel-driven, worship-focused, morally pure, evangelistically bold, discipleship grounded, family faithful, and socially responsible.

Now, as you hear that, I’m sure you would have the same thought that most would have hearing that. The question would be this: well, where is this king or queen of glory? I don’t think I’ve ever met this person.

That’s because as I read that description, we tend to think of someone who is described like this perfectly. You could take any one of these and realize that I’m making progress in that area, but I still have a long, long way to go. And on this earth, we will never hit perfection in any of these areas.

But I think the way I was thinking, and still do, is that if there’s any of these that you would say, well, definitely not that in this person. They’re not living under the control of the Holy Spirit. I can tell you this they’re not living with the motivation of the love of Christ. Then I would say, “Well, regardless of what other things they’re doing, even on this list, they’re not mature or they’re not equipped.”

And therefore, with that, I understand it’s certainly not a perfect description, but for us it became something we could look at and evaluate and say, we’re in the ballpark. Now we’ve got a target to shoot at. We now know what we’re after. Well, little did I realize at that point how difficult it was going to be to figure out how to do that.

You see, Perimeter at that time was using what I would call the typical plan of good churches to help their people in spiritual formation. As I evaluated the people of our church, most of whom I knew well enough in those earlier years, I could pretty much make the conclusion that there was a low percentage and not even a large minority who met that description. There was a significantly low number of our people who I would say were mature and equipped. Whereas at the same time I’d say, it seemed like so many of our people are growing in commitment to Jesus and knowledge of the Word. But this description would not be the description of the majority.

So then the question, well, what is the typical plan of spiritual formation in most churches? And once we identify it, why is that plan not working? And that’s what we’ll cover in our next video.


If you would rather read this series, you can download the Making and Training disciples booklets here.