In his blog post, “The Five-Step Discipleship Process to Spiritual Maturity,” Kenny Ortiz laid out the five phases of discipleship. He provided readers with practical steps and markers by which leaders and disciples alike can gauge what phase they have come to in their process of discipleship. In this blog post, I will take it further by providing you with questions to ask during each phase of discipleship.
What questions should a Christian ask during each phase of discipleship? While there are no wrong questions to ask, there are some questions that can greatly benefit you and help to either effectively disciple others or help you to grow deeper in your walk as a disciple yourself. A few of the most important questions to ask are as follows:
- How do you pray?
- How do you study the Bible?
- How do you worship?
- What is the difference between the Old and New Testament?
As we go into each of these phases and search out an answer, I will provide questions for both the discipler/leader and “disciplee” to ask in order that they are able to grow the most.
1. Unconverted to Intrigued Unbeliever
Kenny Ortiz defines the disciple in this phase as being in a state of unbelief. So at this point, they are not sold on the Gospel just yet. Perhaps they need to know and see more.
So here are a few great questions that will help lead a better understanding of who God is.
- Why is there suffering in the world?
- Who is Jesus and why did He die for us?
- Why do you, as the leader, believe?
- Is there evidence to support the Bible?
- Why is Christianity different from any other religion?
My one encouragement to the one who is in a state of unbelief yet would possibly like to know more––ask questions with an open heart. More often than not, these questions are asked without a real desire to learn the answer but, in order to grow in any area of life, we must be open to learning new things.
2. Intrigued Unbeliever to New Believer
Once an unbeliever is intrigued, they go into phase two. This is where the person may have deep questions about spirituality, about God, and the Bible. They may have questions about ethics and morality. This is where good theological teaching and apologetics may come into play.— Kenny Ortiz
The following questions will help you to better understand the attributes and character of God and why so many follow Him. I find them to be best suited to those who find themselves in this phase.
- What is sin and how does God feel about it?
- What does it mean to be righteous?
- What is faith?
- Do Christians have to give up everything they enjoy?
- How and what does God think and feel about all people?
3. New Believer to Engaged Believer
The New Believers phase is so much fun to watch. Typically, New Believers are zealous and very enthusiastic about their new faith. It’s amazing.— Kenny Ortiz
This is where the questions shift, now we are moving away from questions that originate from doubt or skepticism to questions rooted in faith and a desire to learn and grow.
The most important questions for a new disciple/believer to ask are as follows.
- How do you pray?
- How do you read and study the Bible?
- How do you worship?
- How do you hear the voice of the Lord?
- How to properly understand key theological concepts?
- How to grow in leadership?
During this stage as well as all other stages Christians should be asking question after question, and they should be asking both God, the Bible, and their leader.
These are just a few of the crucial questions to ask, and can seem overwhelming. However, don’t be alarmed because we are not alone in learning about God.
“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.— John 14:25-26
When Jesus died He promised He would send the Holy Spirit who would help us and teach us, therefore we are working in a partnership with God who teaches and grows us.
4. Engaged Believer to Disciple Maker
Once the spiritual disciplines are in place, the New Believer begins to move into the next season of their faith journey. This is where they tend to be highly involved in Christian community and the spiritual disciplines have truly begun to impact how they live each day. This is the Engaged Believer.— Kenny Ortiz
By this point, the disciple is growing in maturity, and so while they have moved on from “elementary teachings,” the questions they ask are still similar, just more evolved in their wisdom.
Questions can now be shifted from how do you pray, to how can I apply this in my life and help others to grow in it as well? And though we are always at all stages seeking out how to be leaders in our communities, at this stage, it should be at the forefront of our minds.
- How did Jesus lead and how can I follow and implement His example?
- What example have my leaders given that I can follow?
- How can I put to use what I have learned thus far?
- How can I impact the world?
- How can I help others grow in their walk?
5. Disciple Maker & Beyond
The Disciple Maker has demonstrated Biblical wisdom, consistent Christian maturity, and strong Christian worldview. But more than this, they have consistently begun to help other Christians move from New Believer to Engaged Believer to Disciple Maker.Kenny Ortiz
As Kenny said above, at this point the disciple has now begun the process of making disciples. There is a circle here that can be visibly seen in each phase, the disciple-maker serves to help those who are in phase one progress through all five phases and thus repeat this organic system that has been in place since the beginning of Biblical times.
It’s important to note that phase five is not the Buddhist equivalent of enlightenment; as Christians, we never stop growing and learning about God because our God is infinite.
Therefore, at this stage, the Disciple Maker is a sort of builder. Whatever he or she is called to, they should be seeking out ways to bring unbelievers into the family of God and to build His kingdom.
- How can I effectively disciple people?
- What are the key elements of faith that Jesus taught that I can also teach?
- In what way is God calling me to lead?
One of my favorite scriptures in the Bible, one that has been with me since I was a child and that shaped my approach to prayer and Bible study is found in Jeremiah 33:3.
Call to Me and I will answer and show you great and unsearchable things you do not know.— Jeremiah 33:3
This verse is huge to me because it shows the power of both prayers and boldly asking questions. Not only will the Lord answer our questions, He tells us things that we could never learn on our own.
We are called to be stewards of our questions, this means that having a question is not enough. Instead, there must be action behind them. So, as a new or seasoned believer, always be asking questions to God and to the leadership that is available to you in your life.