the shape of leadership

Four Reasons Your Church Needs a Discipleship Pathway

How is your church helping new converts grow in their faith?

Influence Magazine on August 22, 2018

Making disciples is the heart of Jesus’ final words to us. So why do so many churches seem to struggle with guiding new believers in their faith? In recent years, the need for a discipleship pathway has become increasingly clear.

Churches that set out a roadmap for spiritual growth and then lead people through it are more effective disciple makers. In short, a discipleship pathway is a clearly defined, step-by-step process that introduces people to faith in Christ, instructs them in basic spiritual disciplines, and empowers them to grow in their relationship.

If your church is not using a discipleship pathway, it’s time to think about creating one. Here are four reasons you need to start now:

1. Clear on-ramps make it easier for new believers to get on board. Depending on how long you’ve been in church, you may not realize how frustrating it can be for new believers to get plugged in. Whether someone raises a hand and says a prayer in the sanctuary or accepts Christ in a small group setting, that moment of salvation can be exhilarating. But what happens next?

The new believers in your congregation need to know how to connect to the church, find answers to their questions, and begin growing in their faith.

The new believers in your congregation need to know how to connect to the church, find answers to their questions, and begin growing in their faith. A discipleship pathway creates clear on-ramps to make that happen. Whether your program meets every week or once a month, making it accessible will make it easier for new believers to become disciples of Jesus.

2. Well-defined processes help leaders oversee discipleship. You should never leave anything to chance. But so often that’s how discipleship works in churches. After someone accepts Christ, he or she may receive a book or hear a few suggestions on what to do next. But without direction and support, you cannot assume that person will grow.

A discipleship pathway means that leaders can stay involved in the spiritual growth of all members in their churches, from birth to maturity. And the better your reporting processes, the more you as a pastor can gauge the health of your congregation.

3. Widely publicized pathways motivate members to get involved. It is the job of the members to create disciples. Ephesians 4:12 makes it clear that the church body as a whole should do the work of ministry, including disciple making. A discipleship pathway will help your people get involved.

Not all churchgoers are equipped to make disciples in their daily lives. But if your church uses a discipleship pathway, you can create a place for members to volunteer and walk with new believers in their faith. What a great opportunity to help your volunteers make an eternal difference.

4. Intentional approaches ensure you are fulfilling the Great Commission. You want as many people as possible within your reach zone to know about Jesus. But once they do, you must become involved in their growth. Jesus called His Church to make disciples, not decisions.

A discipleship pathway is an easily accessible, efficiently managed, member-driven way to fulfill Jesus’ commands for His Church. How are you doing? How would a discipleship pathway help in your context?


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