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.
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?
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.