Discipleship Level 4: Growing
Practices spiritual disciplines. Seeks to follow the ways of Jesus in everyday life.
Growing Christians need to be continually supported and educated as they seek to follow Jesus in their everyday lives. What resources and topics will encourage spiritual discipline and following the way of Jesus? How can you connect this way of living to the mission of your church?
Five Marks of a Methodist
John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, wrote down the traits of a Christ-follower in his “The Character of a Methodist.” United Methodist Pastors Steve Harper and Magrey R. deVega have repackaged the content of that paper into a format useful for study and instruction in modern times. This study walks participants through how to love God, rejoice in God, give thanks, pray constantly, and love others every day of their lives. The activities in the participant character guide will day-by-day build these character traits to instill the marks of a Methodist.
The six DVD sessions and the leader guide will be used in each weekly meeting while the book and character guide will be the daily companions of participants.
Read more about this study in our online catalog: Five Marks of a Methodist: The Fruit of a Living Faith by Steve Harper and Magrey R. DeVega; Abingdon Press, 2015. A DVD, Leader Guide (with Participant Character Guide), and Participant Character Guide are also available.
Opening Ourselves to Grace
Wesley also gave us a theology of grace that includes the Means of Grace, the General Rule of Discipleship, Works of Mercy, and Works of Piety. All of these distinctly Methodist doctrines are fully explained in this study.
Growing disciples in your church should develop spiritual disciplines based on this Wesleyan theology. United Methodist leaders offer four DVD sessions on Wesley’s understanding of spiritual practice and a six-week Bible study based on these videos. Participants will be grounded in Wesley’s grace-filled theology as they develop spiritual practices of compassion, justice, devotion, and worship.
The DVD videos are packaged with a CD-ROM that includes a printable book, leader’s guide, and participant guide for the bible study.
Read more about this study in our online catalog: Opening Ourselves to Grace: Basic Christian Practices; Discipleship Resources, 2007.
This sequel to One: A Small Group Journey Toward Life-Changing Community encourages small groups to help one another grow as disciples. Focusing on the virtues listed in 2 Peter 1:3-11, United Methodist leader Nick Cunningham encourages participants to push one another forward in their development of these characteristics.
In each of the seven sessions, your group will study scripture, watch the video, discuss the book, and develop Forward goals. Participants are tasked with checking in with one another throughout the week on their progress with these goals. This study provides the foundation for making your small group an accountability group similar to John Wesley’s original class meetings.
The DVD and leader guide will be used in the weekly meetings while every participant will read the book and consider the reflection questions during the week.
Read more about this study in our online catalog: Forward: A Small Group Journey Toward a Full Life in Christ by Nick Cunningham; Abingdon Press, 2017. A DVD and Leader Guide are also available.
Serving from the Heart
In addition to following Christ every day, growing disciples should be encouraged to serve the church as a member of the body of Christ. Discerning spiritual gifts, talents, resources, individuality, dreams, and experiences will help church members fulfill God’s call to service in a way that is most appropriate to each person. United Methodist leaders Carol Cartmill and Yvonne Gentile, from Adam Hamilton’s church, offer this study that pulls a list of 20 spiritual gifts from scripture and defines them. Participants complete an 85-question discovery tool and add their results to their talents, resources, individual style, dreams, and experiences to discover areas of ministry where they may want to be involved.
The study can be completed in six or seven 45-60 minute sessions, four 2-hour sessions, or a weekend retreat. The DVD provides eight videos for the class, nine videos for the leaders, and handouts and PowerPoint presentations for use during the sessions. A Leader Guide provides outlines and background for teachers as well as definitions of the spiritual gifts. Each participant will need a copy of the book.
Read more about this study in our online catalog: Serving from the Heart: Finding Your Gifts and Talents for Service by Carol Cartmill and Yvonne Gentile; Abingdon Press, 2011. A DVD and Leader Guide are also available, as well as a Leader Guide and Participant Book for use with youth.
Theology of Stewardship and Biblical Generosity
As disciples grow, they move from giving to tithing. Lead your church members down that path with this resource from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary.
Starting with Stewardship 101 and ending with generosity, these five videos cover what the bible teaches about stewardship, money, possessions, giving, and generosity. The sessions together create a Christian economic world view that gives participants a clear understanding of how their faith should influence their decisions about the use of their resources.
The DVD videos are supplemented by a Resource CD that includes study questions and leader helps for the first four of the videos.
Read more about this resource in our online catalog: Theology of Stewardship and Biblical Generosity: Funding Your Congregation’s Vision by Dr. Ann Michel and Dr. David McAllister-Wilson; Lewis Center for Church Leadership, Wesley Theological Seminary; 2014.
To see a complete list of resources on spiritual gifts in the Media Center collection, view our Spiritual Gifts pathfinder. To see a list of resources on stewardship, view our Stewardship for Adults pathfinder. Click on the title of a resource to read its full description.
Explore recommended resources for the other levels of discipleship:
Discipleship Resources for Seekers (Level 1: Searching)
Discipleship Resources for Visitors (Level 2: Exploring)
Discipleship Resources for New Members (Level 3: Beginning)
Discipleship Resources for Leaders (Level 5: Maturing)
More information on discipleship paths is available in our post on How to Choose the Right Study for Your Group.
To try one of these resources with your church, simply fill out the Resource Request Form, or contact the Media Center with any questions. The NC Conference Media Center is open to all clergy and laity in the North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church, free of charge.