Epworth Discipleship Pathway

We take Christian discipleship seriously at Epworth, and you'll hear a lot of talk about the Discipleship Pathway, our uniquely Methodist "method" for helping people grow as disciples of Christ. We think of a disciple as "a follower of Jesus whose life centers on loving God, loving others, and serving all." Scroll down to learn more about our passion for discipleship.

Epworth Discipleship Pathway

Introduction

While we claim that the Epworth Discipleship Pathway is uniquely Methodist, there's really nothing "new." It's as old as the first disciples, the centuries old, time tested method for making disciples.

What makes it unique is the Methodist understanding of God's grace, freely given to help us grow in discipleship. What God does for us appears across the top of diagram above:

God's grace comes to us preveniently, seeking us out before we even think to ask. Grace helps to convince us that God's way of love is worthy of pursuit. By grace we are justified, reconciled with Christ for ongoing friendship. God's sanctifying grace helps us to grow more and more into the likeness of Christ. And, with perfecting grace God leads us on toward the high calling as Christian disciples.

Although God freely gives grace to help us along the pathway, following Christ means action on our part, too. What we do in response to God's grace appears across the bottom of the diagram above:

We cooperate with God by connecting with Christ and other people, learning about Christ, getting to know him, committing ourselves to Christ and his way of love, following in the footsteps of Christ, becoming more and more like him, and finally, submitting ourselves fully to Christ and his agenda.

 

6 Spiritual Practices

Nearly every worthwhile endeavor requires practice, and that's true for discipleship. Here are 6 Spiritual Practices that have born the test of time, proven essential for discipleship by countless disciples over the centuries. As we practice along the Discipleship Pathway, we grow as disciples.

•   Personal Devotions - prayer, study (reading Bible and inspirational literature), self-reflection

•   Corporate Worship - worshiping God with others, building relationships on shared experiences

•   Sacrificial Giving - our response to what God gives us by grace, investing in God's mission

•   Serving/Witnessing - serving others, meeting needs, and inviting others to follow Christ

•   Vital Connections - locking arms with others in small groups, sharing the faith journey

•   Personal Development - ever pressing on toward the high call of God in Christ

 

Where Am I On The Discipleship Pathway?

Exploring Christ: Am I seeking something more for my life? Something truly worthwhile? Am I attracted to the person of Jesus and his way of love? Can I consider myself Christian if I have doubts? Do I wonder about connecting with God and other people who are on the pathway of discipleship? Am I thinking about what a relationship with Jesus might mean, what it involves? How far am I willing to commit? If so, I am Exploring Christ.

Knowing Christ: Have I become convinced that Jesus' way of love is beautiful and compelling? Am I drawn to know him better, seeking a closer relationship? Are spiritual practices (such as prayer, learning, worship, and serving) helping me understand discipleship better? Do I still hesitate to take my faith beyond the church or my small group? Do I desire to know more? If so, I am Knowing Christ.

Growing in Christ: Am I fully aware that I have been justified (reconciled) by God's grace for friendship with God? Do I look to Christ for guidance and support every day, even as I face the various issues of life? Do I follow Christ daily through the spiritual practices? Although committed, do I still hold back in certain ways? Am I increasingly awed by the transforming power of God's love? If so, I am Growing in Christ.

Centered in Christ: Is my relationship with God in Christ the most important relationship in my life? Am I thankful for the sanctifying (shaping) power of God's grace in my life? Do I strive to submit myself fully to Christ in all areas of my life? Have I become fully comfortable with the spiritual practices of discipleship? Has loving God, loving others, and serving all become my life focus? If so, I am Centered in Christ.

Going Forward

Where we find ourselves on the Discipleship Pathway today doesn't matter. Whether you are seeking and exploring or further along the continuum, what's important is going forward with God's grace as followers of Christ, pressing on toward the goal of perfect love of God, love of others, and serving all.

We offer the Epworth Discipleship Pathway to create opportunities for all people to grow as disciples of Christ, and so we invite you to join us for the journey of a lifetime, the very journey by which God is redeeming and transforming our broken world for love.

If you want to know more about the Epworth Discipleship Pathway, come hang around with us. You'll hear a lot about it, all you need to know.