The Four Earmarks of Discipleship have proven to be one of the most effective set of teaching tools in helping others understand what Discipleship is and what it isn’t.  I first came across the Four Earmarks of Discipleship in a book by Greg Ogden titled Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time. Discipleship is a pedagogy (a way of teaching) and when we are striving to form disciples, these four earmarks are what are needed to create an ideal atmosphere for Discipleship.


In order for someone to really take ownership over the teachings of a mentor, there must be an intimacy established between them.  This intimacy opens up possibilities for growth, that otherwise would not be possible.

Mutual Responsibility

In Discipleship, both people involved have skin in the game.  The mentor must be committed to helping teach the student and the student must have a commitment to learning.  In Discipleship groups, a commitment is necessary to create the most ideal atmosphere for growth for everyone involved.


Discipleship involves a customized plan for the one in Discipleship.  This means that the teacher is teaching in a way that most effective for the student based upon the student’s capacity to receive and where they need to grow.  In Discipleship groups, the plans and vision for the group should be determined on the need’s and goals of the group as a whole.


Discipleship requires accountability.  Typically because there is an investment of time and energy given on both sides, it makes sense to demand growth in return.  If one is not growing as a result of the time they are spending as a Disciple, they are not truly a Disciple!

How to Use the Earmarks

Earmarks are identifying features helping one know whether or not something truly is Discipleship.  To utilize the Earmarks, they should be used to evaluate the authenticity of a Discipleship relationship.

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