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Four Phases of Discipleship

Essential to establishing a disciple-making culture is utilizing Jesus' intentional disciple-making method. Centered on redemptive relationships with His 12 apostles, Jesus trained them in different phases, revealing deeper truths to them about His message and increasingly seeking greater commitment from them in each phase. From those first 12, an unstoppable movement was put in motion that we are a part of today.

Learn how to put Jesus' disciple-making method to work for you and your church with DisciplePath church training.


A person is uncertain and hesitant but willing to explore faith.

The church provides a welcoming and attractive experience for that person to understand the gospel message.



A person learns to connect with God and others.

The church provides disciple-making relationships and loving accountability to grow spiritually.



A person begins serving and apprentice training for ministry.

The church provides deeper truths, serving opportunities, and a leadership community.



A person makes disciples, continually learns, and may coordinate a ministry area.

The church provides mentoring/coaching relationships and releases leaders to lead.


Intentional Relationships

God exists in relationship with the Son and with the Holy Spirit. God IS love. Jesus summarized God’s commands relationally – love God and love people Matthew 22:36-40. Jesus’ ministry reflects the importance of relationships as His disciple-making method is rooted in relationships with others.


Disciple-making happens through relationships and is, essentially, spiritual parenting (1 Thes. 2:7-12; 1 Cor. 4:14-16, Philippians 2:22, Titus 1:4) and apprenticeship (Acts 11:25-26; Acts 16:1-5; 1 Cor. 4:17; 2 Cor. 8:23; John 5:19; 2 Tim. 2:2). The discipleship relationship requires both an intentional connection with another believer and a purposeful direction for guiding the relationship. The connection is well grounded in truth and love and is characterized by transparency, authenticity, accountability, and service. 

The church provides these relationships and individuals commit to growing in and through these relationships.

Whole-Church Discipleship

Disciple-making is not only the job of the pastor and staff, but also of every Christian everywhere. Jesus invested deeply in a few and started a worldwide movement as His disciples set out to make disciples who make disciples. We call that effect multiplication. Multiplication requires a reproducible and transferable process that engages the whole church. 

It is not feasible for a pastor to have the intimate kind of relationship with every church attender that discipleship requires. However, like Jesus, when the pastor invests in a few, growing them through the discipleship phases and into spiritual parenthood, then disciple-makers can be released to make their own disciples. The pastor then becomes a coach of disciple-makers and leaders while the whole church becomes active in disciple-making. Actually, 65-75% engagement in discipleship is the normal result for churches that implement DisciplePath training in their churches.

What will your next step be?

Take the Disciple-making Church Self Assessment

How ready is your church to make disciples who make disciples? The assessment is free and takes about 5 minutes to complete. Ask your leadership team to take the assessment, too. It can be an eye-opening experience.

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