Sermon quotes on discipleship

Karl Barth

Jesus does not give recipes that show the way to God as other teachers of religion do. He is Himself the way.

Mark Batterson

If you’re bored, one thing is for sure: You’re not following in the footsteps of Christ.

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive When Opportunity Roars

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.

The Cost of Discipleship

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The Christian belongs not in the seclusion of cloistered life but in the thick of foes.

Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community

Brother Lawrence

Let us think often that our only business in this life is to please God. Perhaps all besides is but folly and vanity.

Practice the Presence of God

Jim Collins

Truly great [leaders], no matter how successful they become, maintain a learning curve as steep as when they first began their careers.

How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In. 


Jim Elliot

God always gives his best to those who leave the choice with him.

The Journals of Jim Elliot

Dame Edna Everage (Barry Humphries)

I don’t compare myself to Jesus, but there are spooky similarities.

Richard Foster

To become a disciple of Jesus requires intentionality—a purposeful attempt to foster the discipleship process day in and day out.


Francis of Assisi

It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.

Billy Graham

Your prayer for someone may or may not change them, but it always changes YOU.


Billy Graham

The will of God will not take us where the grace of God cannot sustain us.


Alan Hirsch 

If we’re going to impact our world in the name of Jesus, it will be because people like you and me took action in the power of the Spirit. Ever since the mission and ministry of Jesus, God has never stopped calling for a movement of “Little Jesuses” to follow him into the world and unleash the remarkable redemptive genius that lies in the very message we carry. Given the situation of the Church in the West, much will now depend on whether we are willing to break out of a stifling herd instinct and find God again in the context of the advancing kingdom of God.

The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church

Bill Hull

All who are called to salvation are called to discipleship, no exceptions, no excuses!

Bill Hull

God has not promised to bless our good motives, dreams, and innovation. He has promised to bless his plan; that plan is that disciples make other disciples—everything else is a sideshow.


Martin Luther

Resolved: that all men should live for the glory of God. Resolved second: that whether others do or not, I will.

Martin Luther

Should anyone knock at my heart and say, “Who Lives here? I should reply, “Not Martin Luther, but the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Brennan Manning

There is a beautiful transparency to honest disciples who never wear a false face and do not pretend to be anything but who they are.

Andrew Murray

Pride must die in you or nothing of heaven can live in you.


J.I. Packer

God uses chronic pain and weakness, along with other afflictions, as his chisel for sculpting our lives.

Eugene H. Peterson

The only opportunity you will ever have to live by faith is in the circumstances you are provided this very day: this house you live in, this family you find yourself in, this job you have been given, the weather conditions that prevail at the …moment.

Run with the Horses: The Quest for Life at Its Best

Eugene H. Peterson

To follow Jesus implies that we enter into a way of life that is given character and shape and direction by the one who calls us. To follow Jesus means picking up rhythms and ways of doing things that are often unsaid but always derivative from Jesus, formed by the influence of Jesus. To follow Jesus means that we can’t separate what Jesus is saying from what Jesus is doing and the way that he is doing it. To follow Jesus is as much, or maybe even more, about feet as it is about ears and eyes

The Jesus Way: A Conversation on the Ways That Jesus Is the Way 

Jim Putnam

Far too many of us assume that discipleship is merely the transfer of information leading to behavior modification. But discipleship, at heart, involves transformation at the deepest levels of our understanding, affection, and will by the Holy Spirit, through the Word of God, and in relationship with the people of God.


James K.A. Smith

Discipleship is more a matter of hungering and thirsting than of knowing and believing.

You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit


James K.A. Smith

What do you want? That’s the question. It is the first, last, and most fundamental question of Christian discipleship….Will you come and follow me? Is anther version of, “What do you Want?” 

You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit

Dann Spader

Jesus poured His life into a few disciples and taught them to make other disciples. Seventeen times we find Jesus with the masses, but forty-six times we see Him with His disciples.

Dallas Willard

The greatest issue facing the world today, with all its heartbreaking needs, is whether those who, by profession or culture, are identified as “Christians” will become disciples—students, apprentices, practitioners—of Jesus Christ, steadily learning from him. Jesus poured His life into a few disciples and taught them to make other disciples. Seventeen times we find Jesus with the masses, but forty-six times we see Him with His disciples.

Dallas Willard

Non-discipleship is the elephant in the church; it is not the many moral failures, financial abuses, or amazing general similarity between Christians and non-Christians. These are only the effects of the underlying problem.

James K.A. Smith

Being a disciple of Jesus is not primarily a matter of getting the right ideas and doctrines and beliefs into your head in order to guarantee proper behavior; rather, it’s a matter of being the kind of person who loves rightly—who loves God and neighbor and is oriented to the world by the primacy of that love.

Desiring the Kingdom (Cultural Liturgies): Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation, Baker Publishing Group.

Eugene Peterson

We are practiced in pleading inadequacy in order to avoid living at the best that God calls us to.

Taken from Run with the Horses by Eugene H. Peterson. ©2009, 2019 by Eugene H. Peterson.  Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove  IL  60515-1426. www.ivpress.com

Dallas Willard

Our mistake is to think that following Jesus consists in loving our enemies, going the ‘second mile,’ turning the other cheek, suffering patiently and hopefully—while living the rest of our lives just as everyone else around us does.

The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives. Reprint edition. San Francisco: HarperOne, p.5 1999.

Dallas Willard

My central claim is that we can become like Christ by doing one thing—by following him in the overall style of life he chose for himself.

The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives. Reprint edition. San Francisco: HarperOne, p.ix 1999.

G.K. Chesterton

Jesus promised his disciples three things—that they would be completely fearless, absurdly happy, and in constant trouble.

N.T. Wright

Family and property, then, were not for the ancient Jew simply what they are to the modern western world. Both carried religious and cultural significance far beyond personal, let alone “individual,” identity and security. Both functioned symbolically within the total Jewish worldview. To both, Jesus leveled a direct challenge: those who followed him, who were loyal to his kingdom – agenda, would have to be prepared to renounce them, God-given though they were. 

Jesus and the Victory of God (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1996), 405.

Alexander MacLaren

It takes a lifetime to fathom Jesus; it takes a lifetime to appropriate Jesus, it takes a lifetime to be clothed with Jesus. And the question comes to each of us, have we ‘put off the old man with his deeds’? Are we daily, as sure as we put on our clothes in the morning, putting on Christ the Lord?”

Mike Breen

Jesus has not called you to build his church. In fact, in all of the Gospels he mentions the church only two times. One time he mentions it, it’s about conflict resolution. The other time? To say that he will build his church. Our job, our only job and the last instructions he gave us, was to make disciples.

Building a Discipleship Culture.


Eric Gieger

Discipleship is transformation, not information overload or behavioral modification. When transformation occurs, there is an increasing hunger for more knowledge of Jesus and His Word, but the primary focus of acquiring knowledge must be the ongoing renewal of the heart. When transformation occurs, behavior will follow. But the focus must be the heart, or the behavior is self-manipulated and short-lived as opposed to flowing from the transformation offered by Christ.

Transformational Discipleship: How People Really Grow (Nashville: B&H, 2012), 28.

Alan Fadling

We’re all tempted to come to Jesus for what we want from him, rather than coming to him for mentoring, training and teaching about what he wants our lives to look like.

Taken from An Unhurried Life: Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest by Alan Fadling Copyright (c) 2013 by Alan Fadling. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

Jonathan Walton

When we don’t meet Christ in Scripture and are not regularly being discipled by or discipling others, it is impossible to discern what being a Christian means or to cultivate a relationship with God. This lack of intimacy with Jesus and his people doesn’t take into account those who claim to be Christians but see justice, reconciliation, and compassion as optional Christian activities.

Taken from Twelve Lies That Hold America Captive: And the Truth That Sets Us Free by Jonathan Walton Copyright (c) 2019 by Jonathan Walton. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

Vance Pitman

According to renowned Greek scholar Spiros Zodhiates, the Greek word from which we get our English word disciple means “not only to learn, but to become attached to one’s teacher and to become his follower in doctrine and conduct of life.”

Unburdened: Stop Living for Jesus So Jesus Can Live through You, Baker Books, 2020. Original Content from Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga: AMG Publishers, 1993), 936.

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