Before you read this blog, ask yourself this quick question:
When were you most passionate about your faith and serving God?
For some, this might change every day. For others, it’s a memory that stretches back months or even years. Ryan Binkley, the Lead Pastor of Create Church, understands that being 100% passionate about God, 100% of the time, can be difficult to maintain.
But, that is the burden of discipleship and it is a burden all followers of God should seek to bear.
What is a disciple? Many are aware of the 12 apostles of Jesus and their devout following of Him. However, few realize it is possible to walk as close in spirit to The Lord as they once did. That you too can be a disciple.
In this blog, Ryan Binkley discusses Create Church’s latest series on discipleship, what qualities distinguish a disciple from a believer, and concludes with the role of a disciple as a leader among followers of God.
Believer or Disciple – what is the difference?
Ryan’s latest sermon series at Create Church is inspired by the brilliant book 10 Qualities by Pastor Dennis Rouse. Ryan and Pastor Rouse have an enduring relationship, beginning when Ryan was one of his “twelve” at the Victory World Church in Atlanta, GA.
Founded by Pastor Rouse and his wife Colleen in 1990, Victory World Church now has over 16,000 members, representing over 140 countries. It was an amazing experience for Ryan to be part of his team, before The Lord guided him back to his home in Dallas.
10 Qualities offers astounding insights into the responsibilities and rewards of discipleship beyond being simply a believer. Not that there is anything wrong with being a believer – you can’t climb Mount Everest the second you put on a pair of cleats! But if you are a believer, it should be the starting point of a wild and crazy journey to becoming a disciple.
So, what’s the difference between a believer and a disciple? Pastor Dennis Rouse offers 10 clear distinctions, which Ryan is wholly in agreement with:
- Believers consider Jesus their Savior and live to please themselves, while disciples consider Jesus as their Lord, and live to please God
- Believers place their thoughts, opinions and feelings above the Word of God, while disciples prioritize the Word of God above all
- For believers, a church is a place to hear the Word of God, while disciples go to learn and do His Word
- Believers are only accountable to themselves; disciples are accountable to all
- Believers serve God based on convenience; disciples serve God based on conviction
- Believers concern themselves with impressing God through their faith, while disciples understand God wants a relationship
- Believers follow God when the going is good; disciples follow God regardless of the circumstances
- Believers ask God to bless a path they’ve set themselves, while disciples ask God to reveal their path and follow it without question
- Believers exude pride when things go their way and self-pity when they don’t; disciples live secure in the knowledge God’s love will never fail them
- Believers follow the example of a world that always wants to go higher; disciples follow Jesus and humble themselves
As Ryan understands all too well, the life of a disciple is not always a fun one. But, it is one that is never boring.
Committing Yourself as a Disciple of God
Becoming a disciple centers around giving up your life to God. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? However, prior to finding stability at Create Church and his role as President and CEO of Generational Equity, Ryan Binkley recognized that his devotion to his career was becoming a similar commitment.
Ryan’s drive to succeed would lead him to direct his life based on what corporation was offering a new, exciting opportunity. Now, as he commits his life to The Lord, Ryan follows His Word to guide his path and he has benefited greatly from it.
Jesus doesn’t make it easy or pretend that discipleship is the life of luxury:
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even their own life–such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry his cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:26-27)
That language might scare a fair share of believers away. But what Jesus is truly saying here is discipleship means placing Him above all others – be it yourself, your family, your possessions or your emotions. You can still love and appreciate these, but nowhere near as much as you love The Lord.
When you commit yourself to being a disciple of God, not only will you be walking closer to God than ever before, but life becomes more interesting. His directions for you might seem confusing at first, and maybe even detrimental. But, as Ryan has experienced first-hand, when you take your will and put it at the feet of Jesus, He will respond multiple times over.
Disciples as Leaders
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Mathew 28:18–20)
From just 12 devoted disciples to Jesus, Christianity is now followed by millions, if not billions, worldwide. This is evidence that disciples play a crucial role in the spread of God’s Word and that they are not only devout followers, but leaders.
Ryan’s previous blog on leadership in business shares more similarities than you might expect with this. At their heart, both focus on developing others for the betterment of themselves and their objective. Whether this objective is the growth and success of their business, or encouraging commitment to God among their peers, effective leadership is essential for both business owners and disciples.
Ryan hopes that this understanding of the qualities of a disciple will encourage others to take that step closer to Jesus and share this information with their family, friends and community.
Are you ready to start the Journey of a Disciple?
Pastor Dennis Rouse’s 10 Qualities goes into much further detail about the qualities and obligations that are required in the journey from a believer to a disciple and Ryan would highly recommend you pick up a copy.
Also, be sure to follow Ryan’s sermon series based on this insightful book on the Create Church website, or attend in person if you are in Richardson, Texas area. Through these series, Ryan and the team hope to encourage others to discover the path God set for them and feel His love in every step of their life.
If you would like to learn more about Ryan Binkley, please click here.