I’ve been looking into discipleship recently. I found five practical steps people can take in their discipleship process.
What are practical discipleship steps you can take?
- Spend time alone with God
- Read, Study, and Meditate on Scripture
- Listen to Biblical preaching
- Find a Christian mentor
- Engage in Godly community
Being a disciple means being a “follower” of Jesus. It also means being a student or learner of him. We study the Word of God because that is what Jesus has left with us to know how God operates and wants us to live.
Let’s dive in on these practical steps you can take being a follower of Jesus and a student of the Word of God.
5 Practical Steps To Take In Your Discipleship Process
Below are 5 steps you can take in your discipleship process. God is with you. He is near as you walk in discipleship.
Discipleship is the art and science of helping people find, follow and fully become like Jesus. Discipleship happens as God’s people show love, share truth and live life with one another, making new disciples along the way.Brandon Cox
Step #1 – Spend Time Alone With God
The first step to strengthening your relationship with Christ spending time with Him.
I appeal to you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.Romans 12:1
We are to present ourselves to God humbly. Rejoice in Him. Ask for His will be done on earth.
Lay your burdens down and lift your prayer requests to Him. Confess your sin before the Father who knows all things, and he will cleanse you from all unrighteousness.
The Lord’s example prayer suggests that we ask that the Lord lead us away from temptation. We are to ask that he delivers you from evil because God is the kingdom and the power and glory forever (Matthew 6:9-13).
In our human flesh we are weak, but when we lean on the Lord for strength, he will give us what we need to walk in righteousness before him.
If you are not in the habit of coming regularly to the Father, consider being diligent to make it a habit. It takes 21 days to build a habit so make a schedule of coming to God every day for the next 21 days.
One has to become accustomed to coming regularly to the Father to remember to do so. Once it becomes a habit, it will be apart of your everyday life giving you refreshment and energy for the joys and challenges of that day.
It is human nature to worry about life’s troubles and the days ahead. But the Bible says to not worry about the next day; to take it one day at a time.
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.Matthew 6:34
Once we start coming to God, simply showing up before his feet, we can give all our worries, concerns, and anxious thoughts to him. He will renew our minds and give us peace.
Step #2 – Read, Study, & Meditate on Scripture
If we are to know God, we are to know His Word. By reading and studying the Word of God, we come to know His character.
The Bible has so much more than we can ever imagine. Some Christians are constantly on the lookout for a new revelation and miracle in their eyes.
The Bible is the living Word of God. It is alive and active sharper than any two-edged sword.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.Hebrews 4:12
When Jesus came to Earth, the Bible became flesh.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.John 1:14
And when Jesus went back to heaven, Jesus continues to dwell in the Word, speaking to us through the Bible.
How to Start Studying Scripture
Start with picking a book of the Bible and begin reading through it.
Dr. R.C. Sproul released a starter list for those who have never read the Bible. This can be found in his book, Five Things Every Christian Needs to Grow. I would recommend checking it out and possibly reading through his helpful tools.
From his book, I have listed an overview of the easier-to-read books of the Bible, that Dr. Sproul has listed.
This list shows what the Old Testament Overview looks like:
- Genesis: the history of Creation, the fall, and formation as a nation
- Exodus: the history of Israel’s liberation and formation as a nation
- Joshua: the history of the military conquest of the Promised Land
- Judges: the history of the military conquest of the Promised Land
- 1 Samuel: Israel’s liberation and formation as a nation
- 2 Samuel: David’s reign
- 1 Kings: Solomon and the Divided Kingdom
- 2 Kings: the fall of Israel
- Ezra: the Israelites’ return from exile
- Nehemiah: the restoration of Jerusalem
- Amos and Hosea: examples of minor prophets
- Jeremiah: an example of a major prophet
- Ecclesiastes: wisdom literature
- Psalms and Proverbs: Hebrew poetry
And the New Testament Overview:
- The Gospel of Luke: the life of Jesus
- Acts: the early church
- 1 Corinthians: life in the church
- 1 Peter: an introduction to Peter
- 1 Timothy: an introduction to the Pastoral Epistles
- Hebrews: Christology
- Romans: Paul’s theology
This does not include all 66 books of the Bible (39 in the old, and 27 in the new), but gives a good starting point to understanding what the Bible is about.
What you can do is start with these books that are easier to read, starting with Genesis and going through Romans. Or you can pick one book for now that interests you and stick with that.
When it comes to studying Scripture, here are some helpful tools to go beyond reading, and really diving into the context, and meaning of words and phrases.
Ask yourself what the text is referring to. Consider asking: who, what, why, when, where, and how questions. It is important to do this step before meditating on Scripture to know the correct meaning of the text.
- Blue Letter Bible is a powerful study tool to dig deep into the Bible with commentaries, encyclopedias, and maps/images. One of their tools, the Lexicon search, gives users immediate access to the original Hebrew and Greek words.
- Knowing Scripture shows the basic guidelines for correctly understanding, interpreting, and applying Scripture. R.C. Sproul uses principles from Scripture to show how to find the true meaning of its context. “This series is a great study tool for both beginning and long-time Bible readers.
While you are reading and studying Scripture, ask the Holy Spirit to lay on your heart a verse or portion of Scripture specifically for meditating on.
Ask God to highlight a verse or two for you, and write it out in a journal or separate piece of paper.
When meditating on Scripture, one can keep that piece of Scripture with you and read it first thing in the morning, throughout the day, and even before you go to bed at night.
Oh how I love your law!
It is my meditation all the day.Psalm 119:97
Once one reads a passage of Scripture enough times, you will start to memorize it and it will be kept in your heart to not sin against God.
If we are not reading Scripture at all, we will not find a portion to meditate on. So make a plan, and start reading a book of the Bible today.
Be encouraged to know that those who diligently seek God will find him the Lord promises. Be expectant and pray that God will give you a hunger, desire, and love for Scripture. It will be hard at first, but give it time. Start by simply showing up, and let God do the rest in and through you.
Step #3 – Listen to Biblical Preaching
Begin researching to find a Bible-believing church in your area that you can attend. If you are not able to attend in person, consider listening to Podcasts or sermons online. If at all possible, I would encourage you to go in person and once you find a church you like, stick with, going consistently.
How to Find a Bible-Believing Church
Seek out a church that faithfully expounds the Bible and affirms the historic Christian faith.
The number one reason to stay at a church is that they have sound theological doctrine in their beliefs and in the preaching of the Word of God.
What kind of first-level theological issues should one look out for?
This would include doctrines most central and essential to the Christian faith.
There are different levels of theological urgency, each with a different set of issues and theological priorates found in current doctrinal debates.
And there are first-level doctrines that are fundamental to the Christian faith and shouldn’t be overlooked.
- The Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit in one)
- The full deity and humanity of Jesus Christ (without the full deity and humanity of Christ there is no gospel)
- Justification by faith alone
- The authority of Scripture
Without the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, there is no saving message in Christianity at all.
So these are the first things to look into when researching and finding a Bible-believing church.
Preferences about music, personal taste, and even programming, are secondary issues. No congregation or service is perfect, and one should be careful to not be consumeristic when searching for a church.
Far too many Christians have become church shoppers or church “hoppers” hopping from one church to another focusing only on what they can get out of the service, not how they can serve or be involved.
The Bible is clear that one should look out for false teaching and beliefs that would require the need to leave. And we should be aware of what Scripture says to know what is truth and what is false.
We must know the main purpose of the church: to gather with other believers in unity, worshipping God, and listening to the Word of God preached, working together to be a witness of Christ, and sending missionaries to go to places where the church is not.
I would encourage you to first research the doctrine of the church on the church’s websites, consider calling the church’s office to go over any questions you have, and then plan a time to visit in person yourself.
Step #4 – Find A Christian Mentor
If you are new to the Christian faith, consider finding a mentor who could hold you accountable in your new walk with God.
This could be very helpful to you to meet with someone who is older than you preferably and been on this journey of being a disciple of Christ longer than you have.
When you first become a Christian, everything might be completely new to you. This could be overwhelming not knowing where to start. A Christian who has been following God longer than you, could give you wisdom and be an encouragement to you.
Remember What You Hold
Something to keep in mind is that you are now a threat to the enemy. Before you became a Christian, Satan had nothing to worry about, and had you just where he wanted you to be.
Now that you are a Christian, the enemy wants to discourage you and put doubts into your mind. He knows you well and knows your weakness.
You might be on fire for God and you can know you are a new creation. But the enemy wants you to fall back into old habits and make it difficult for you to grow in Christ.
He wants you to believe that you never got saved, and can’t get close to God. Don’t let this discourage you.
Finding a Christian mentor will understand what you are going through because they were once in your shoes. Ask them to help keep you accountable for spending time with God and reading the Bible.
They can remind you of truths of Scripture and that you are in fact a child of God. With Jesus, you can continue being a disciple and learner of him.
Step #5 – Engage in Godly Community
Engaging in a godly community can go along with finding a Bible-believing church. Hopefully, when you find a church, you will find a godly community.
But you don’t have to limit finding a Christian community in a church. This should be a good starting point and you should try your best to be active in your church.
You can also look for Christian community in Bible studies, ministries, Bible schools, and if you are in high school consider going to a Christian college or joining a Christian group in your public college.
Serving in local Christian ministries is a great way for meeting other believers. Begin talking with other believers and see what they are involved in, to possibly join as well.
Why Practical Discipleship Steps Are Important
Taking these steps is necessary for the believer because spending time with God, reading, studying, and meditating on Scripture, finding a Bible-believing church, getting a Christian mentor, and engaging in a godly community, grows you in your walk with God.
To be a Christian in today’s world is going against what the majority of people believe. We are not to go with the flow of the world, but actively seek Christ, which is going against the world.
It is impossible to do this on your own; you must lean on God to renew your strength.