Why I’m not a follower of Jesus. And I won’t call myself that anymore.

I am not a follower of Jesus. I am a disciple of Jesus. And it’s different.

The term Christian has fallen into disrepute of late. In an effort to distance ourselves from organized religion, many who would formerly identify themselves as Christians, now call themselves “followers of Jesus.” I myself have used that phrase repeatedly up until recently.

Here’s the rub.

Jesus always drew a crowd. Everywhere he went, the crowds followed him.

Followers have an agenda though. They wanted free bread. They wanted unlimited wine. They wanted no sickness, no pain, no demonic attacks.

And Jesus provided that. For seasons and moments. But Jesus never called people to be only followers. He called them to follow so that they might become disciples.

Followers quit when they don’t like the teachings. Disciples say “where else would we go?”

Followers look for earthly political solutions and try to legislate morality based on the teachings of Jesus. Disciples give their lives, knowing that his “kingdom is not of this world.”

Followers look for benefit. Disciples look to serve.

Followers expect privilege. Disciples expect suffering.

Followers are concerned about their lives. Disciples are concerned about the glory of Jesus, and that his name might be known among the nations of the world.

When things get tough, followers stop following. Disciples know that growth rarely occurs when things aren’t tough, and they embrace the difficult times.

“Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of Men.”

“And he called 12 to them and called them Apostles.”

I started following years ago. I still do. But I’m not just a follower anymore. By God’s grace, I’m a disciple.



This post has drawn the most readers and the most negative reaction of anything I’ve ever written. So I wanted to clarify some points here.

Some readers have made the valid point that the word “follower” and “disciple” are used synonymously in the Koine Greek, in which the New Testament was written.

I’m assuming that 99% of my readers don’t read Koine Greek. I’m not trying to force a meaning on the text. I’m using English as my medium of communication. And my POINT could perhaps be said otherwise, but I stand by the idea. I want to be more than just a follower. I want to be a fully devoted disciple.  If you have a better way of expressing it, please leave a useful comment. But in the meantime, the hundreds of people who resonated with the post and myself are going to keep trying to figure out a way to express this longing of our hearts to be more in love with Jesus and to do more of what he said to do.


Want to know more about what I believe that means?

85 thoughts on “Why I’m not a follower of Jesus. And I won’t call myself that anymore.”

  1. Good thoughts man.

    Christian, Follower of Christ, Disciple, etc… people love titles and labels, right? We find terms that offend us and distance ourselves by claiming another term.

    My point: it’s how we live that makes the biggest difference.

    “People don’t follow titles, they follow courage” ~ William Wallace (Braveheart)

    Thanks for posting this!

  2. Your premise is not supported by Scripture. There is plenty of evidence for this but John 6:66 is pretty conclusive. When Jesus taught about being the bread of life many of his “disciples” followed him no more.

  3. Guy
    If there is “plenty of evidence for this” then its possible. John 6 didn’t negate the rest of scripture. It just means that it is possible to be a disciple and to walk away as well.
    And in this area, the idea isn’t a didactic holding to word, but the idea behind it.

  4. The point is that you’re saying it’s more spiritual to use a transliteration of a Greek term than its English translation. Disciple is not presented in Scripture as a term for a superior follower of Christ. Its just a follower. I understand the desire to be a fully devoted follower, but simply using a Greek term to describe yourself doesn’t accomplish that so please don’t look down your nose on those who chose to use simple English. Our goal as interpreters should never be to use the most obscure term.

  5. Matthew 8: 21 id another example showing that the Scripture doesnt use the term disciple to denote a higher level of commitment from a follower.

  6. I’m not claiming it’s a superior term for everyone. Just for me. The article is personal. It reflects a frustration I have. Doesn’t mean it’s wrong to use that phraseology. I know the point you are trying to make using the Greek. That’s not my point.
    I’m wrestling with myself on a better way to express a little more. We don’t speak Greek. And those I’m talking to don’t know the Bible.
    My favorite term for myself is “lifecartographer” because the immediate follow on is “what’s a life cartographer?” Questions lead to conversations which lead to relationships.

  7. I believe this article is simply to get ‘Christians’ to rethink how they are living. Are they simply going through the motions of ‘following’ Christ in their lives, or are they actually allowing the power of actual discipleship to change and direct their lives. Getting into the deep semantics is not the point, I believe. It is a call to look at where we are at in our own lives, and how we are choosing to live. If you have ever been a pastor or spiritual leader you would understand the difference in a heartbeat.

  8. “I haven’t seen you in these parts,” the barkeep said, sidling over to where I sat. “Name’s Bao.” He stated it exuberantly, as if word of his exploits were shared by way of settlers hither assorted a verve in Aeternum.

    He waved to a expressionless butt beside us, and I returned his token with a nod. He filled a glass and slid it to me across the stained red wood of the bench prior to continuing.

    “As a betting houseman, I’d be ready to wager a honourable speck of silver you’re in Ebonscale Reach for more than the drink and sights,” he said, eyes glancing from the sword sheathed on my with it to the salaam slung across my back.


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