Discipleship & Mission: The DNA


As we observe Jesus develop the culture around him, several key characteristics/elements seem to stand out.

First, Jesus was intentional about challenging his disciples to grow in character, as well as in the skills of doing and leading ministry themselves. He was the Master. They were His apprentices. He led them towards understanding and speaking his words, doing His works and living in His ways, always knowing that one day they would be responsible for taking the gospel to the ends of the earth.

Secondly, compared to the incredible need before Him, he invited a relative few to join him on the journey. It was neither a single person, nor the multitude that Jesus called into his life. There were twelve invitations, though we can observe that the investment reached into their families as well. He spent time with many other people, but none had access to Jesus like these twelve men and their families. He did seem to connect more deeply with three of the twelve, but we don’t see Jesus setting an example of discipling in a one-on-one setting long term.

Neither do we see Jesus set an example of teaching and training in purely an organized setting. He shared life with his disciples. He also stepped into their lives and the lives of their families. They ate together. They prayed together. They played together. They shared resources. They served together. They also spent time in quiet places, receiving teaching from him, but it was always in the midst of living a shared life.

During their time together the disciples learned from Jesus a new language and set of tools with which to navigate a spiritual landscape. Jesus opened their eyes to new ways of seeing, new ways of discovering, new ways of interacting with people far from His Father.

Jesus had the ability to demonstrate an uncompromising, unconditional love for his family of disciples. His invitation to relationship was( and is) a covenantal one – “Nothing can separate us.” However, He lived a life full of grace AND truth. He was always ready to challenge a false belief, worldly wisdom, untrue word or any other detail that contradicted an eternal reality. Only in a selfless, secure, relationship can such a dynamic exist. It is the responsibility of every discipler to love and sharpen every other disciple.

If there was ever any doubt in the minds of the disciples that Jesus invested in them for their own benefit, it was removed when Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Mt 28:18-20 The disciples were equipped to go and make disciple themselves.

And finally, the disciples received a Power that they never could have imagined, though Jesus spoke of it often. The same Spirit alive in Jesus was available and living inside each of them. The Counselor. The Comforter. The Guide. The Intercessor. The Advocate. The Teacher. The Helper. The Witness. The Spirit of Life. The Spirit of Truth.

The same “Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you” today (Rom 8.11). We must learn to walk with one eye/ear on earth and one eye/ear turned to heaven, expecting that He still communicates with us. We need only listen.

These biblical principals (core values) make up the DNA of discipleship at Grace Gathering. This is the culture we want to breathe into every discipling environment and relationship. In order to facilitate every person committing them to memory, we’ve created the acronym, C.H.O.I.C.E.S.

C haracter & Competency
H andpick a few
O rganized & Organic
I nvitation & Challenge
C ommon Language & Tools
E veryone Multiplies
S ensitivity to the Holy Spirit


  1. […] These are explained in greater detail on our website HERE […]

  2. […] written in an earlier post describing in detail the DNA of discipleship that we observe in the life of Jesus. When we study the ways in which He discipled those […]

%d bloggers like this: