How Do We Know If We Are Making Disciples Of Jesus?

(The following is an excerpt from a presentation on The Biblical Foundation For Relationship, given by Richie Shaw at the Oct. 2015 DiscipleShift 1 training held in Post Falls, Idaho)


How can we know that someone is a disciple of Jesus? Church leaders through the years have utilized different methods to determine if someone is Jesus’ disciple. We might look at how long someone has been attending church, we might consider their knowledge of scripture, we might even look at the time and service they give to the church.

But as we look at Paul’s writings in the New Testament, he presents the attributes of someone who is led by the Spirit. Those who have love, who have peace, who have patience., kindness, gentleness… Why do they need these attributes? Patient with whom? Kindness towards whom? All of the fruit of the Spirit is actually a fruit of someone being in relationship with others. It is interesting that the people that picked up Jesus’ mission in the New Testament were living out, and leading people toward, God’s restored design for relationship. Everything they called people to, had to do with relationship.

Sometimes we as Christians wrestle with this.. Sometimes it is based on the movement you come from. If you come from a more charismatic movement, gifts and signs may be important to you in determining if one is a disciple. Some may come out of a movement that put emphasis on being heavily educated. Each of us has little things we hold on to that define for us whether or not we are making disciples.


But listen to how God’s church in the first century, through the writings of Paul, defined people who were following Jesus.

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” 1 Corinthians 13: 1-10

The conviction that runs through our veins in the Relational Discipleship Network is that Jesus is calling His Church to be the conduit by which the world sees, knows, understands and believes, that REAL relationship with God and REAL relationship with each other is actually possible. Our hope is that this Network will really, truly model that kind of relationship – that we will create a culture of relationship wherever we go.

“Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  Mark 12:28-31

To watch the full video of this presentation, go to our Vimeo page:

Biblical Foundation – Richie Shaw

Click link below to find out more about our DiscipleShift 1 Trainings:

DiscipleShift 1 Training

Richie Shaw is the Lead Pastor of Real Life Spokane in Spokane, Wa. Prior to moving his family to Spokane and planting RLM Spokane in 2010, Richie served as a Community Pastor at Real Life Ministries in Post Falls, ID. He has a degree from Northwest University. Before planting RLM Spokane, Richie never thought he wanted to be a church planter; now there is nothing else he would rather be part of than planting churches to reach people for Jesus! His passion is to multiply disciples and churches in real relationship. Richie and his wife, Katie, have two daughters, Faith and Ruby.