Five Phases of Discipleship
When we look closely at the life of Christ and his preparation of his disciples see a pattern for making disciples today. As you lead and disciple a group or even one other individual through the Harmony of the Gospels we encourage you teach for transformation, recognize the wisdom that God is revealing in your conversations, share life’s moments together and engage in ministry according to your vocation. If you will intentionally disciple to facilitate spiritual maturity, empowerment, community and service then you will be amazed at how God will work through each of you as you progress through each phase in the Harmony of the Gospels.
Phase 1 includes the incarnation and early years of Christ’s life until the time he was about 30 years old. The 14-week study includes important topics for new believers and seekers such as: the authority of God, God’s universal love, promises of God, hope, obedience, and courage.
You’ll study phase two over the course of 12-weeks. In the life of Christ it encompassed 18-21 months beginning with Jesus’ baptism and covering the stories of his temptation, the first followers, the wedding in Cana of Galilee, his dialog with Nicodemus and the woman at the well.
The Relational themes will become evident as your study the passages. Your own relationship with those you’re discipling will also become stronger helping you open up more as you study new topics such as: conversion, repentance, devotion, sacraments, the power of God, God’s will, and what it means to be a disciple.
The ministry emphasis in Phase 3 is to be experiential. In the life of Christ it encompasses about 4-6 months of Jesus ministry beginning with his calling of the first four disciples and ending with a dialog with some prominent Jews after a banquet at Matthew’s home.
Your study of phase 3 will take just 8-weeks. However, its now time to begin to engage those you are discipling in real active ministry and encourage them to be living out the principles of incarnational, relational, and experiential ministry. As they engage in their field work guide them with the lessons and wisdom in this phase, including: spiritual vocation and gifts, spiritual authority, forgiveness, hospitality, integrity, and mercy.
Phase four begins with the story of Jesus healing an invalid on the Sabbath and concludes 3-5 months thereafter just before appointing the first 12 Apostles.
It’s a season in ministry which is very Intentional. Disciples are actively sharing their faith, known to others as being a Christian, engaged in ministry. When discipling others through this phase our priority is to equip them better for the ministry to which they are called. Key lessons include: reliance on the Holy Spirit, discipling others, and the unity of service and heart throughout whole Church.
Phase 5 spans the last 15 months of Jesus life among us before his ascension. The focus of Phase 5 is a missional lifestyle which we’ve broken into four parts:
- • Apprenticeship – Phase 5a includes Section 53-70a beginning with the Appointment of the Twelve Apostles
- • Training – Phase 5b includes Sections 70b-101b beginning with the Commissioning of the Twelve
- • Multiplied Ministry – Phase 5c includes Sections 102a-127b beginning with the Commissioning the Seventy
- • Co-mission – Phase 5d includes Sections 128a-184 covering the events of Holy Week, the Great Commission, and Jesus’ Ascension
Disciples in this phase have a lifestyle which is renown. The fruit and followers from years of ministry humbles their heart by the knowledge of the grace and Truth of God which saved and transformed their life, and among them some are called to significant roles and international ministry. Simple or immense their ministry aims to honor Christ alone.