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Discipleship Pathway

In my article last week, I addressed Jesus’s call for all who are his followers to be disciple makers.  This is something we often hear and proclaim in our churches and conferences.  One of the missing components that I often observe is the lack of a clear pathway of discipleship.  If the goal is to help turn “irreligious people into fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ,” then it is necessary for churches to have a well-defined and well communicated strategy. The question that needs to be answered by every congregation is, “How do we move people from one end of the spiritual continuum to the other?”  “What is our operational means of helping a person move from being far from God to being a missional disciple maker?”  This is to be thought out both organizationally as well as individually.  As a church everyone must understand the ways and means that the congregation collectively works together to accomplish the mission of disciple-making.   This is the body life of Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 12.  This is pastors and teachers helping members identify their gifts and using them in a synergistic way to carry out the Great Commission.  At the same time, the strategy must be communicated and facilitated in a way that every individual member knows their next step.  This is helping believers understand the pattern of participation that leads to their spiritual growth like Peter describes in his first letter (1:5-8).  A discipleship pathway is all about knowing the target and helping the church collectively, and believers individually, know how we can get to where we need to be together.  It is a map that describes the journey and provides the mile markers that indicate if we are making progress.  Having a good strategy will be the difference between activity and momentum – between growing old in Christ and growing mature in Christ.  – Dr. Gary Mathes