Discipleship Pathway

The Journey

Discipleship Pathway

We have taken the vision of UMCN as the basis for the intentional faith development path: to create a Christian community where people are invited and encouraged to grow spiritually by loving God and serving others. We invite others to begin on this path of intentional faith development and encourage them to grow spiritually on a two-fold path. By loving God through passionate worship, studying scripture, and serving others through risk-taking mission and service, radical hospitality and extravagant generosity. We understand that we can develop our faith not only in study, but also in the way we physically help others. As we grow towards a life centered on Christ, we develop faith in to life as a visible sign. The joy of this path is that we don’t go through it alone. This is a connection of the individual’s commitment, the commitment of the United Methodist Church of Nevada, and also the steadfast love and grace of God.

 To grow as a follower of Christ, there are four foundational elements in the discipleship pathway for growth in relationship with God and the church:

i.      Understanding the meaning of “discipleship”

ii.     Steps of growth in our relationship with God

iii.   Growing our faith in different ways

iv.    Interrelated roles and responsibilities of God, the church and the disciple

Definition of a Disciple
 First, we must define what we mean by “disciple.” Different churches define “disciple” differently. Here’s ours: A follower of Jesus whose life is centering on loving God and serving others.

Steps of Relationship Growth

One way to look at spiritual growth is to consider how people at different stages of their faith might describe their relationship with Jesus. We have used broad categorizes for these stages. Another way to look at this would be in terms of our relationship with God, like acquaintances, friends, good friends and intimate friends. These are broad categories, but should give us an idea of what our relationship with Jesus might look like as we grow in faith.

     Exploring Disciples (Acquaintances) — “I believe in God, but Im not sure about Jesus or the church.” “My faith is not a significant part of my life.”

     Growing Disciples (Friends) — “I believe in Jesus and I am working on what it means to follow him.” “I am participating in the life of the church.”

     Close to Christ (Good Friends) — “My relationship with Jesus makes a difference in how I live my life.” “I am discovering how my life can make Gods love real in the world.”

     Committed to Christ (Intimate Friends) — “Following Jesus is the most important thing in my life.” “My life is part of Gods transformation of the world.”

These stages are not rigid, of course. The faith journey, like any journey is filled with twists and turns along the way. These terms might give you a general idea of where you are right now so that you can begin to identify what your next steps might be as you grow and move more deeply into living a Christ-centered life.

What stage am I in?

Begin by taking the Spiritual Assessment Tool. This will identify where you currently are on your spiritual journey and will point out areas where you can grow. We also understand that life has conflicts and setbacks that can challenge our faith and may alter your faith development path. Therefore you are encouraged to take this assessment at least once a year.

Growing our faith in different ways

The Discipleship Pathway is focused on five areas based on Five Practices of a Fruitful Congregation by Bishop Robert Schnase. They are Personal Faith Development, Passionate Worship, Extravagant Generosity, Radical Hospitality and Risk-Taking Mission and Service. It is understood that we can apply ourselves to different levels in those areas; therefore, it is broken down in to steps to help you in the journey.

We can develop our faith personally and inwardly as creating a path towards loving the Lord our God “with all of our heart and soul and mind” (Matthew 22:37). Areas that we can grow are:

Loving God

What we think and what we do are expressions of who we are. Trying hard to change ourselves is a losing proposition  but when were traveling with God and letting God work in our lives, we find that transformation becomes a beautiful reality! When you see a calendar item or volunteer opportunity marked with the loving designation, it means that participation will draw you into a deeper level of love for God and neighbor.

By clicking on the links below you can learn more about ways we can grow in this are are

1. Personal Faith Development, 

2. Passionate Worship, 

3. Extravagant Generosity,  

Serving Others

The Christian life is about more than correct thoughts and a loving attitude; it’s about living our calling to be salt and light in the world. This means doing the work of the kingdom. Calendar items and volunteer opportunities marked with the serving designation will help you get your hands dirty for the kingdom. These include mission opportunities, volunteering and much more.

By clicking on the links below you can learn more about ways we can grow in this area are:

1. Radical Hospitality, 

2.  Risk-Taking Mission and Service

The Three Roles in Growing our Relationship

God, the church, and each one of us has a role to play, and all of these roles interact and work together to help us to grow as disciples.

God does God’s part, but we have a responsibility to respond, and to put our faith into practice. The church also has a responsibility to provide experiences and opportunities for people to engage with and to nurture people as they seek to grow.

Gods Role:

God is at work in our lives in different ways as we grow in our faith. John Wesley, the father of Methodism, described this as three forms of grace.

Prevenient grace is the stage in which God meets us where we are, before we have made any decision to follow him. It exists prior to and without reference to anything we may have done. God is calling all persons into relationship, and we can choose how we will respond. Some of us will ignore this call.

If we choose to become disciples of Christ, we are justified by grace. Justifying grace is offered by God, and is received by us by faith and trust in Christ, through which God pardons us of sin. This justifying grace cancels our guilt and empowers us to resist the power of sin and to fully love God and our neighbors. Wesley believed that justification can occur in different ways for different people. It may happen in one transforming moment, as in response to an altar call, or it may involve a series of decisions across time.

But, we are never done. We continue to work out our salvation as we grow in faith. Sanctifying grace is that grace of God, which sustains the followers in the journey toward perfection of love. This perfection is a genuine love of God with heart, soul, mind and strength, and a genuine love of our neighbors as ourselves.

Churchs Role:

The Churchs role is to nurture, encourage, provide accountability and challenge us as we grow. This is primarily done by providing opportunities to experience God in Christian community through small groups, corporate worship and opportunities to use our spiritual gifts in service.

Individuals Role:

What is our individual role in spiritual growth? First, we take advantage of the opportunities given to us by the church. But we cant just show up at church every time the doors are open and think that we will grow spiritually. We can develop ourselves personally in our belief by “Loving God” and “Serving Others”. Loving God focuses on how we internally develop our personal holiness. Serving others focuses on how we develop our social holiness. Developing in these two areas leads to a transformed heart as a disciple of Jesus Christ, which can transform the world.