Features & Articles - Church & Church Planting

Article Search

What does a "mature" disciple of Jesus look like? by Traver Dougherty

What does a "mature" disciple of Jesus look like? by Traver Dougherty

Around 2000 I became a little frustrated with the lack of literature on discipleship. No, it wasn't that the bible wasn't enough; it is enough. At the same time, I knew Christian authors/thinkers most often wrote about those things they were entirely passionate about (...and what sells has a little something to do with it, too).   Below is an excerpt from yours truly (as I look to fill the literature void). What's outlined is actually one quarter of a "Discipleship Matrix." The other three categories outlined are (1) Misguided "Christian," (2) Nominal "Christian," and (3) "Disciple of Jesus." The forth category, outlined below, is "Mature Disciple of Jesus."

The Mature Disciple of Jesus  Excerpt from A Theory of Communication and Cognition for Making Disciples by Traver Dougherty

Basin1) Primary life orientation centers on Jesus and his kingdom (e.g. Sermon on the Mount)

2) Sees the totality of his or her life as on mission with God, being sensitive to the Spirit's guiding

3) Social status unimportant, views social groupings missiologically and often seeks reconciliation

4) Primary allegiance to God's kingdom, not a human government (although appropriately submits to a human government)

5) Often suffers on account of Jesus and is willing to risk possible death and/or martyrdom

6) Sees value in Christian leadership, submits accordingly, and provides leadership when necessary

7) Adheres to Jesus' teachings and knows what those teachings (commands) are

8) Life is lived to the fullest when God's goals are attained via the disciple's life

9) Costly sacrifice is the norm, usually monetary

10) Deeply involved in Christian community, will not leave community unless directed by God

11) Relies on God for all needs continually and actually due to a perpetually sacrificial life

12) Is humble, considers others better than self, gives others the advantage

13) Genuinely loves an increasingly accurate understanding of God and demonstrates that love via obedience to Jesus's commands and intimate prayer

Jesus commanded us to "make disciples," so it stands to reason that we'd better know what one looks like (at least in broad strokes). Although I know you're not perfect, here's a good question: Do the above thirteen qualities characterize your life? If not, why not? What needs to change? Remember, Paul the Apostle implores us, "...let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity..." (Heb 6:1). I'd write more, but I think that's enough for now.

My friend, Neil Cole, is right; we westerners have a tendency to be educated beyond our obedience. So, as we continue to move forward as the church of Jesus Christ, fluidly, organically, let's be soberly reminded that the quality of the ecclesia is only as good as the disciples of which she is made.

Traver Dougherty

The Banqueting Table


© 2008 Traver Dougherty - sent as an email originally on September 29, 2008.


Traver Dougherty lives in Roseville, CA (Sacramento area) with his wife Aimee and two sons, Keith and Keagan. Before his encounter with the organic church, Traver served as a college pastor, missionary to the Philippines, conventional church planter, and senior pastor. Today, Traver equips organic church planters, functions as an elder in his own missional community of faith (The Banqueting Table), and serves as an adjunct professor of missiology at William Jessup University. www.tbtroseville.com. Archives of Traver's "Tid Bits for the Organic Church" articles HERE.

See also the article What is a Real Hero in God's Kingdom?

<<Back to Features & Articles

Featured Article

Discipleship: Copies of the Original
by Chris Suitt

We must start helping people learn how to stay focused on and living in the presence of Jesus all day long...more


To submit an article for consideration on our website, send an email HERE with the subject line "Article for CMA website".

facebook logo
Facebook Page
CMAResources Twitter

CMA Logo

Join Our E-Newsletter List

Sign up today to receive updates on happenings from CMA

Sign Up Now

See the Archives of past e-newsletters HERE


Primal Fire cover

Primal Fire

by Neil Cole

Primal Fire is a book that any Christian can read and find helpful in their calling to serve Jesus. It is a paradigm shifting work that will affect the way we understand ourselves and how we relate to one another in Christ's body...more

MP3 Downloads

MP3 Downloads - Only $.99

Helpful teachings on many facets of organic church!

More than 40 different recordings from some of the finest practitioners in our movement...browse them all


Cultivating E-Book Cover

Cultivating a Life for God

by Neil Cole

The best selling book by Neil Cole, offered in E-Book format is now FREE for a LIMITED TIME! This clarion call to the work of disciplemaking and provides profound and practical help for any who would step up to the task of making disciples...more