Everything our church does is centered around making and developing disciples of Jesus.
It may be obvious for an experienced Christian how to go about making disciples, but for a new believer, and even many long time believers this is either a foreign or vague concept. Therefore, to help us understand what discipleship means, and to have a clear plan that our church can use, we at CBC have created our Discipleship Pathway. A Discipleship Pathway maps the normal path disciples take as they mature in Christ.
We get our model from the Bible that reveals who Christ was during His earthly ministry and what He called His disciples to be and do.
As the crowds followed Jesus, we can see a progression. First they came to explore. “Who is this miracle worker with new teachings?” Those who accepted His invitation became disciples and connected with Jesus. Through that connection the disciples grew in spiritual maturity as they became more and more like Christ. And in each step people invited others to join them on the journey.
People still follow these steps today. We call them Explore, Connect, and Grow, our Pathway Steps. Unbelievers are exploring the faith, new believers and those new to CBC need to connect to the life of our church, and those connected are then focused on growing.
We also encourage everyone to invite others to join them in their current Step, which we call Multiply.
What does this growth look like? We as spiritual creatures develop spiritually in analogous ways to how we develop physically. The Bible describes people in different phases of development. New believers are described as spiritual infants or babies, but all disciples are called to seek maturity, adult spiritual development. We call this our Development Phases, and there are five: 1) Newborn, 2) Infant, 3) Child, 4) Adolescent, and 5) Adult.
Our goal is to see people take the next Step, from Explore to Connect to Grow, and in the Grow stage we want to see them advance in maturity through the Development Phases from Newborn to Adult. But this is hard to do without a target. Thankfully the Lord gave us a target, Jesus, who is our model.
Jesus was entirely connected to the Father and instructed us to connect to Him in order to be with the Father. He used this analogy, “I am the vine, you are the branches;…” John 15:5. By connecting to Jesus as a branch connects to the vine we receive what we need from the Father just like Jesus did.
The first and most important Image is the Branch.
A branch connected to the vine produces fruit. Disciples connected to Jesus bear spiritual fruit.
The outgrowth of Jesus’ connection to the Father was His ministry, much of which He has passed on now to His disciples. What we are to be as disciples of Jesus can be summarized into 9 categories which have corresponding Images in the New Testament, which we call our Disciple Images. These activities and their Images are:
1) Intimacy with the Father (Son/Daughter)
2) Serve the Father’s Will (Servant)
3) Fight the spiritual battle (Soldier)
4) Live your unique life (Athlete)
5) Evangelize (Fisherman)
6) Disciple individuals (Farmer)
7) Strengthen the Church (Builder)
8) Represent Christ to the world (Ambassador)
9) Serve people, (Neighbor)
These 10 images (the Branch Image as well as the other 9 that the Branch causes) are what we call our 10 Disciple Images.
These three elements, the Pathway Steps, Development Phases, and 10 Disciple Images, make up our Discipleship Pathway and they guide us in understanding and achieving our mission to make disciples who make disciples.
For More Information
For a deeper analysis click the links below:
If you would like the Biblical backing for our Discipleship Pathway please click here.
For a list of resources from which we borrowed or consulted in constructing our Discipleship Pathway click here.