1. Commitment Through Membership: When Jesus called people to become His disciples, the first thing He asked for was commitment (Matthew 4:18–22). Commitment requires individuals to leave their old lives behind and live a new life in Christ where Jesus becomes the Lord over their lives. In order for a believer to begin the discipleship process, he or she needs to commit to a local church body. When disciples are committed to a local church, they'll grow through accountability and commitment. Some of the means to growth are: 1) learning the truth of the Gospel through Scripture; 2) learning and growing through personal devotion; and 3) being held accountable through participation in an accountability group.
2. Humility Through Service: In this next stage, disciples realize that commitment to a local congregation alone isn't enough to follow the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Once disciples realize the extent of Christ’s lordship over their lives, they begin to learn about grace and their need to depend on Jesus Christ. As church members grow in their commitment, they'll begin to utilize their gifts, talents, and resources for God. It's also through service that a disciple of Jesus Christ discovers his or her limitations and maturity level in faith. Some signs of humility are: 1) learning to share struggles with the community and how to persevere in those struggles; 2) evaluating his or her own paradigm and worldview; and 3) allowing themselves to be trained to serve effectively.
3. Guidance Through Mentorship: In this stage of discipleship, disciples become more aware of why they struggle as they try to follow God. They begin to question their world views and presuppositions. As disciples of Jesus Christ discover and understand their limitations in serving God, often times they'll experience discouragement or even fall away from God. It's at these times, through Biblical counseling and mentorship, that disciples will learn who they are before God and understand how they've been uniquely made to serve. Growth at this level comes from counseling, mentorship, and being able to model from others who are mature in faith.
4. Leading Through Empowerment: We believe empowerment is the final stage necessary for one to become a mature disciple of Jesus Christ. At this stage, the disciple learns how to discern, understand, and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit despite his or her imperfections. As this happens, he or she becomes empowered to lead others effectively for the sake of God’s kingdom. Disciples also begin to cherish following and fulfilling the will of God as the most important thing in their lives and gain an understanding of the mandate of their calling.