The #BeUMC campaign reminds us of who we are at our best — the spirit-filled, resilient, connected, missional, faithful, diverse, deeply rooted, committed, disciple-making, Jesus-seeking, generous, justice-seeking, world-changing people of God called The United Methodist Church.
First and foremost, we are dedicated to the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world in the tradition of John Wesley. We are committed to making disciples who are anchored in Scripture and formed by tradition, experience, and reason.
We recommend these Bible studies that form disciples in the Wesleyan tradition. We also recommend books on creating a discipleship pathway for your church. Find additional resources for adults, youth, and children in our Discipleship pathfinder.
Long-Term Discipleship Studies
Disciple Bible Study Series. The Disciple Bible Study series is published by Abingdon Press, a United Methodist publisher, and it is written and taught by United Methodist leaders. It is a deep exploration of the Bible and what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. There are options available for every size and type of small group and even individual study. The original, longer courses are 34 sessions, but the newer fast-track options are 24 sessions. There are four total volumes in the series, but there are also additional short-term studies and supplemental courses. Read all about the components of this series in our run-down of Disciple Bible Study Options for Every Group.
Covenant Bible Study. Covenant is a 24-week, in-depth group Bible study in which people read and discuss the Bible together. Also published by Abingdon Press, Covenant is a comprehensive study that covers both the Old and New Testaments. It is organized in three 8-week modules, each dealing with a different aspect of covenant-Creating, Living, and Trusting the covenant-thereby underscoring the unique relationship that God chooses with us as God’s people. The goal is to deepen understanding of scripture, build community, and develop church leaders through small group study. This study comes in a kit with everything you need to get started.
Companions in Christ. Help your small-group members move from information (knowledge about) to experience (knowledge of) in the means of grace — ways in which Christ meets people, renews their faith, and deepens their life together in love. This series is published by the Upper Room, a United Methodist ministry. The full five-volume series moves through a 28-week study of spiritual formation, scripture, prayer, vocation, and spiritual companionship. Alternatively, these topics can be studied separately. Each study uses a leader guide and participant book.
Intentional Discipleship Systems
Disciples Making Disciples: A Guide for Covenant Discipleship Groups and Class Leaders by Steven W. Manskar. This book provides what you need to form covenant discipleship groups in your church. It provides information needed to organize the ministry, form groups, write a covenant, lead a meeting, and support groups so they help the congregation live out its mission of making disciples for the transformation of the world. The book also describes the office of class leaders and how to introduce this powerful disciple-making office to the congregation. Versions for youth and children are also available.
SeeAllThePeople Resources. #SeeAllThePeople is a movement of United Methodists who have decided to keep our focus on the main thing: making disciples of Jesus Christ. Spearheaded by the late Rev. Junius B. Dotson who was General Secretary of Discipleship Ministries, this program offers many resources, including free ebooks and videos, that can be used to create an intentional discipleship system in your church for all ages. We have many of these print booklets in the Media Center, or you can find the complete collection on their website.
Small Group DVD Studies
Within your existing small groups or as you create new ones, use these DVD series to focus your congregants on becoming disciples.
A Disciple’s Path: A Guide for United Methodists by James A. Harnish with Justin LaRosa. Prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness…this is what we commit to when we become members of The United Methodist Church, and it’s a big step. But this study helps us look beyond membership, presenting an engaging approach to discipleship from a distinctly Wesleyan perspective. Follow this study with A Disciple’s Heart: Growing in Love and Grace by the same authors.
The Discipleship Series. Taken together, this series of four DVD studies provide a foundation of Wesleyan discipleship. It includes reflections on John Wesley’s General Rules, “The Character of a Methodist,” the instituted means of grace, and the Wesleyan Covenant for Renewal:
- Three Simple Rules for Christian Living by Rueben P. Job
- Five Marks of a Methodist: The Fruit of a Living Faith by Steve Harper
- Five Means of Grace: Experience God’s Love the Wesleyan Way by Elaine A. Heath
- One Faithful Promise: The Wesleyan Covenant for Renewal by Magrey R. deVega
The Challenge Series. This series offers several 3-week DVD studies with daily challenges for participants that help develop discipleship habits. Beginning with John Wesley’s 21 questions, the series expands to cover prayer, authenticity, generosity, and love:
- The Wesley Challenge: 21 Days to a More Authentic Faith by Chris Folmsbee
- The Authenticity Challenge: 21 Days to a More Content Life by Sarah Heath
- The Jesus Challenge: 21 Days of Loving God and Neighbor by Justin LaRosa
- The Generosity Challenge: 28 Days of Gratitude, Prayer, and Faith by Scott McKenzie and Kristine Miller
- The Wesley Prayer Challenge: 21 Days to a Closer Walk with Christ by Chris Folmsbee
Books on How to Make Disciples
Get a broader understanding of discipleship with practical strategies for making disciples in your church.
Discipleship Path: Guiding Congregations to Connect with Jesus by Quincy D. Brown. What are the next steps to get churches to move from program to pathways that help people to practice the marks of discipleship: Presence, Service, Prayers, Gifts, and Witness? For a church to change its trajectory from plateauing and declining, it must have a discipleship strategy that moves away from multiple programs to a pathway of next steps for people to become disciples.
Gospel Discipleship: 4 Pathways for Christian Discipleship by Michelle J. Morris. Individuals, as well as congregations, engage in self-reflection which will help them define a path to discipleship that fits their own context. The Participant Guide provides individuals with assessment tools to help them clarify their path and the Congregation Guide functions as a program leader guide and helps assess and define discipleship paths for a church as a whole.
Stride: Creating a Discipleship Pathway for Your Church by Mike Schreiner and Ken Willard. This book shows church leaders how to create a discipleship pathway for their own congregation. The process leads to a church full of deeply committed Christians. It focuses on tangible ways each of us, no matter where we find ourselves currently on our Spiritual journey, can intentionally take steps and strides closer to Jesus.
Discipler: An Interactive Guide to Intentional, Relational, Accountable Discipleship by Phil Maynard and Eddie Pipkin. This interactive guide provides six months of engaging activities (devotional, relational, educational, developmental, and practical) around six key dimensions of discipleship: A Life of Worship, A Life of Hospitality, A Life Opening to Jesus, A Life Obeying Jesus, A Life of Service, A Life of Generosity. It is designed to be used in partnership with a spiritual friend, a discipleship coach, an apprenticing relationship, or a mentoring relationship, and it also works great as a small group study.
Gladhearted Disciples: Equipping Your Congregation with Generous and Enduring Faith by Chris Folmsbee. This book includes small, tangible things we can do to integrate faith into a 30-day set of practices that will make us authentic witnesses in the real world. Can be used for personal, spiritual development or to foster Christian formation and maturity within the context of small groups.
Making Disciples: Faith Formation in the Wesleyan Tradition by Sondra Higgins Matthaei. This book answers the question “How do we come to know ourselves as Christian?” and analyzes this question in light of early Methodist practices of formation and an ecology of education within the Methodist movement. The reader will come to understand John Wesley’s idea of character formation and moral transformation.
Request These Resources
These resources can be borrowed for free by anyone involved with a United Methodist Church in the North Carolina Conference. We will mail them to your home! All you need to do is fill out the Resource Request Form.