What is a Discipleship Path?

This is the second post in a series on discipleship at Brenneman. If you missed the first, click here and be sure to watch the video that goes with it. 

First, what is a discipleship path and why is it important or even necessary? A discipleship path...

--Is a way of thinking about a person’s relationship to Jesus we get either closer to him or further from him.

--Is a way of communicating the types of things that Brenneman can offer for each one of us along the way.

--Shows what the most important things we can be and do are as we grow closer to Christ.

--Helps us to see the relationship between what we’re doing on a Sunday morning and what we’re doing in small groups or serving opportunities. It helps us see why each one matters.

Perhaps you think that this is overdoing it. But I would say that making disciples is an intentional process. It doesn’t occur by chance. Churches and families—any organization or group of people—drift into complexity naturally. Things that start out simply don’t stay that way. They grow as people spend more time on them. And what once made sense no longer does. A calendar that once was manageable becomes a burden. Ways of doing things that everyone used to understand the purpose behind them become “the way we’ve always done things.” This is not a knock on Brenneman at all. It’s a fact of life. Taking the time to identify things on a discipleship path helps us to clarify what is most important, just like making a budget clarifies what is important financially.

Perhaps you think that this will result in cookie-cutter disciples. Like if we begin to ask people where they are at on a discipleship path, we won’t really be making disciples, we’ll just be making robots. And I guess that could happen. Unless we approach this in such a way as to value people as people, and not as projects. Making disciples doesn’t mean taking on a project until it’s completed. It’s not like remodeling a kitchen or fixing a car or painting a room. When we begin to describe a person as, for example, Exploring Christ or Growing in Christ, we will make general, broad statements. This is not to confine people to boxes but rather to describe how Christians in the US grow.

Or perhaps you think that this will be restrictive, as if the church should be able to offer all things to all people. And I would say that one of the things God calls each of us to is to live within the limits we have. To be fully human is to realize we are not God and therefore cannot “do it all.” Having a discipleship path does force us to say “no” to some things in order to focus on others. Just like getting married to one person means we say “no” to every other person on the planet. Just like none of us would argue that the exclusivity of marriage is a bad thing, we can argue that deciding on what really matters and doing it as we make disciples is also a good, healthy thing. We do this when we take a Sabbath rest once a week.

Creating a discipleship path allows God to use Brenneman Church with all of our gifts and talents to make disciples and lets God be sovereign. Because we remember that we are one church of hundreds in our county, and God doesn’t want us to be like other churches, but to be faithful as the congregation he has formed us to be.

There are five phases of spiritual growth that we’ll use as stepping stones along the path. While there are other ways to envision this, these five provide some common language for us to all consider where we are on the path.

Exploring Christ

Discovering Christ

Growing in Christ

Close to Christ


Join us next week as we talk about those who are Exploring Christ.