For the last 6 months I have been chairing a committee at our church that was tasked with designing a discipleship path for people of all ages and levels of maturity. I was really excited about this project because I agree with Greg Ogden who wrote,
“If making disciples is the primary mission of the church, would we not expect some public pathway to maturity in Christ in most churches? Yet it is rare to find a church with a well-thought out, easy-to-grasp process or path onto which people can get if they want to become self-initiating, reproducing, fully-devoted followers of Christ.” Transforming Discipleship
Two weeks ago we unveiled the plan to 50+ teachers and small group leaders, asking for their input in support in this new project. We hope to launch it this August. Here is the overview:
*Classes are generally 6 weeks. This is an adaptation of materials from Saddleback Resources.
Introduction to our church and vision, weekly church activities, church facilities; opportunity to meet pastoral staff and departmental representatives; Introduction to the Discipleship Path and help to find best fit. 1 hour, monthly
NEW BEGINNINGS Introduction to Jesus Christ, basics of Christian faith, and walking with Christ; For new Christians or those who have recently recommitted to following Christ; Various curriculum available. Class or with mentor, 12 weeks
101 MEMBERSHIP “Know” – Commitment to Christ and the church family Overview of United Methodist history, doctrine (including salvation, baptism, and communion), organization, Membership vows of prayer, presence, gifts, service, and witness.
201 MATURITY “Grow” – Commitment to habits necessary for spiritual growth Principles of spiritual growth & discipleship, habits necessary for growth, learning to read and study the Bible, developing a quiet time, prayer, tithing, fellowship and small groups, maintaining good habits, and a vision for maturity.
301 MINISTRY “Serve” – Commitment to serving God and others Understanding how God has shaped you, spiritual gifts, discovering your gifts, heart passion, natural abilities, personality types, past experiences, developing a heart for service, serving in this church, ministry opportunities, expectations of those serving, connection with ministry leaders.
401 MISSION “Go” – Commitment to sharing the gospel with others Discovering your mission to the world, your purpose in the kingdom of God, discipleship, developing your testimony, learning to share the gospel, building bridges to reach others, introduction to local and global missions.
There it is! Now, we know that “Programs do not make disciples, people make disciples…” but I think this will be a fantastic tool for encouraging spiritual growth and engagement, and it should open the door for many one-to-one and small group relationships.
So now I’ll be writing curriculum and teaching notes all summer…. Ha ha. What do you think?
One thought on “A Discipleship Path at Last!”
I’m working with Jessica Markink in the Netherlands on a discipleship program for our churches. It’s basic…sounds like a combination of your 101 and 201 material. I’m curious to learn more about what you’re doing after that, because eventually we will need to decide next steps for people after they finish the basic discipleship program. It’s exciting to hear more and more Christians all over the world focusing on discipleship!