Discipleship Level 3: Beginning
Regularly attends church, reads the Bible, gives of themselves. Seeking to become Christ-like.
How can you best meet the needs of someone who has made a commitment to your church? Maybe they are regularly participating in the life of your church. Maybe they have joined as a new member.
Nurture these new additions with resources that encourage participation in a faith community and everyday living as a Christian.
A Disciple’s Path
Our membership vows are clear about what is required of those making this commitment. Help your new members gain a deeper understanding of what it means to live out those vows in this study by United Methodist Pastor James A. Harnish and Deacon Justin LaRosa.
This immersive study teaches Wesleyan theology and how it is lived out through seven spiritual practices: Prayer, Scripture Meditation, Corporate Worship, Small-group Community, Financial Generosity, Gifts-based Service, and Invitational Evangelism. Using their workbooks, each participant will read scripture, a message, reflection questions, and prayer for five days every week of the study.
The program kit includes the Daily Workbook, Companion Reader, and samples of key tags, wristbands, bookmarks, and window clings that can be purchased for participants. Also included is the Leader Guide with CD-ROM that provides PowerPoint presentations, customizable handouts, and sample emails.
Read more about this study in our online catalog: A Disciple’s Path: Deepening Your Relationship with Christ and the Church by James A. Harnish and Justin LaRosa; Abingdon Press, 2012.
Beyond what makes us uniquely Methodist, new members will need a solid foundation in the basics of Christian identity, practice, and service. Understanding these concepts will provide them with daily guidance and enable them to better communicate their faith to others. United Methodist leaders and siblings Clayton Oliphint and Mary Brooke Casad offer this 3-part book series that helps participants claim their true identity as a child of God who lives in hope, walk a road map of Christian life events, and be inspired to generously give of themselves in service to God’s kingdom.
Each book is a four-session study accompanied by a leader guide. The participant book includes a reflection section for personal response in addition to the resources for group response offered in the leader guides.
Read more about this book series in our online catalog: Citizens of Hope: Basics of Christian Identity, The Road to Amazing: Basics of Christian Practice, and Get in the Game: Basics of Christian Service by Clayton Oliphint and Mary Brooke Casad; Abingdon Press, 2016. Leader guides for Citizens of Hope, The Road to Amazing, and Get in the Game are also available.
Many new members are just learning how to fit time for church into the life schedule they had before they became involved with the church. The Journey 101 series is similar to The Basics but with no required homework. This series is also a bit longer with six sessions in each of the three parts of Knowing, Loving, and Serving God. United Methodist leaders from Adam Hamilton’s church offer this study with the goal of creating followers of Jesus Christ. Throughout the study, fifteen core traits are revealed to paint a picture of what it looks like to live as a committed Christian.
Each participant has a book that guides them through the in-person sessions, and each leader has a guide and a DVD for leading the sessions. An optional book of Daily Readings includes devotionals for individual or group use. An introductory booklet provides an overview of the series and the fifteen core traits. All of these components are included in the resource kit.
Read more about this study in our online catalog: Journey 101: Knowing, Loving, Serving God: Steps to the Life God Intends by Carol Cartmill, Jeff Kirby, and Michelle Kirby; Abingdon Press, 2013.
Building relationships in a small group is important to welcoming your new members into your church community. Increase the connection among your small group members with this study by United Methodist leaders Nick Cunningham and Trevor Miller. By studying the early church, the authors emphasize Jesus’ vision for unity among his followers and how this unity will show the world that he was sent here by God. The authors invite participants into living this radical kind of unity through understanding its importance, learning the necessary practices and characteristics of group members, and reaching out to others. Each group will also craft a covenant statement and determine their ground rules.
A DVD with inspiring introductory videos for the first four sessions is included. A leader guide for all eight sessions is also included. Each participant will need a copy of the book that provides weekly and daily readings along with ample space for reflections for each of the activities.
Read more about this study in our online catalog: One: A Small Group Journey Toward Life-Changing Community by Nick Cunningham with Trevor Miller; Abingdon Press, 2016. A DVD and Leader Guide are also available.
New members vow to give of themselves to the church. United Methodist Pastor Mike Slaughter helps them to understand what it means to put God first in their lives making this act of giving a natural expression of their relationship with Christ. This four-week churchwide stewardship campaign, useful for all church attendees, especially speaks to new church members as they are learning to turn from their old ways and rethink about their time, interests, and finances in terms of being stewards of God’s gifts to them. Slaughter emphasizes the freedom that we gain when we give with our whole heart.
This kit includes books for youth and children’s leaders so that the whole family can participate. The Shiny Gods DVD, leader guide, and book can be used in small groups or as a sermon series. A book of daily devotions and a flash drive with a program guide, customizable handouts, images, and promotional materials make this a complete program to lead the whole church into putting God first in their lives.
Read more about this program in our online catalog: First: Putting God First in Living and Giving by Mike Slaughter; Abingdon Press, 2013.
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 Christ-Followers (Level 4: Growing)
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.