Stages of Discipleship

I. STAGES OF DISCIPLESHIP (Matt 28:19-20) [go into world and make…]

a. Comparison of Christ's Discipling with Rabbinic and Greek Patterns

  • Jesus took Initiative (Luke 5:1-11) [choosing Peter’s boat]
    *contrast to voluntary decision to seek master.

  • Jesus saw discipleship as a matter of trust and allegiance to him
    as a person (John 6:66-69; Matt 16:13-18)
    *contrast to simply mental ascent to philosophy. [who do men say I am?]

  • Jesus conceived of discipleship as all to serve (Mark 6:7-13;
    Luke 10:1-12)
    *focus on personal needs. [take nothing with you, God will provide]

  • Jesus' discipleship was marked by servant-heartedness and sacrifice
    (Matt 12:46-50; John 13:1-17) [washing disciples feet]
    *Greek student envisioned one day learning relationship with master
    as peer.

b. Stages of Discipleship in Christ's Ministry – a process

  • Following as inquirers (Matt 4:25; Mark 3:7-8)
    – interested [multitudes following]

  • Following as would be disciples (John 4:1; Luke 6:17)
    "come and see"

  • Following as disciples who occasionally travelled with Christ to
    be taught by Him (Matt 28:20) [to observe his commands]
    "obedient witnesses" (Luke 24:48; John 21:24)

  • Following as disciples who continuously travelled with Christ
    so that they might be trained by Him (Matt 4:18-22)
    – 120 pre-Pentecost disciples (Acts 1:15)

  • Following as disciples chosen by Christ to be trained for a
    special role in His ministry
    – the Apostles (Mark 3:13-15) [the twelve specially chosen]

c. Stages of Discipleship in Program of Church

1. Outreach ministry to inquirers

  • worship

  • personal witness

2. Ministry to would-be disciples

  • New Member Class

3. Equipping for ministry – low commitment

  • Sunday morning classes

  • Lenten academy

4. Equipping for ministry – high commitment

  • Couples' Leadership

  • Lay Pastors

5. Equipping for ministry – intensive training

  • Small Group and Accountability



  1. Discipleship is more than making converts.

  2. Discipleship is more than personal spiritual growth.

  3. Discipleship is more than single-level commitment to learning,




a. What is Maturity?

"teleios: = complete, perfect (Phil. 3:15, Col 1:28)
A. W. Tozer
– "Spiritual Man"

  • a desire to be holy

  • a desire to honor God

  • a desire to carry one's cross

  • seeing life from God's viewpoint

  • a desire to die rather than live wrong

  • a desire to see others advance at our expense

  • making eternal judgments rather time judgments

Richard Haberson:

"increasing awareness of one's need, an
increasing lack of self-confidence and
increasing sense of one's dependence on God"


Can Spiritual Maturity be Intentional

Richard Foster – the farmer – creating environment

[can’t make yourself grow just as the farmer can’t make corn grow]

  1. application of truth

  2. discipling methodology

  3. model of pastoral leadership – actions speak louder…


c. Can we measure Spiritual Growth

  • I COR 3:1-3 [babes]
  • HEB. 5:12 [children | teachers]
  • JOHN 14:9 [knowing Jesus (God)]
  • MARK 6:52 [hardened hearts]