What is your plan for discipling a friend or family member that you or someone else has led to Christ? If you're going to be an effective disciple-maker, what should you be teaching to fellow believers that are new to the faith? The Disciples' 25 is a simple plan for discipling another person. Here are 25 key biblical principles you can help a new believer learn and apply to their life.
Assurance of salvation
Application. Remind them that they don’t have to ask God for salvation again and again because His salvation is assured for them once they place their faith in Him.
Activities. Pray with them and thank God for the assurance that they will spend eternity with Him in heaven.
Truth to Teach. When we place our faith in Christ for salvation, we trust that our salvation is guaranteed through Christ. As a result, we don't ever have to worry about His presence leaving us, and we are certain that we will spend eternity in heaven when we die. Nothing in this world can take this assurance away from us.
Having a Quiet Time
Application. Encourage them to make it a habit to set aside time each day, even if it is just a few moments, to spend in prayer and reading the Bible.
Activities. Invite them to have a quiet time with you. Show them how you spend time with God during that time.
Truth to Teach. It is important to set aside time each day to spend with God. We spend time with the people we love, and we enjoy simply being with them. This time alone with God in a quiet place for prayer and Bible study is valuable for us as we grow in our relationship with God.
Victory over sin
Application. Remind them that when they are tempted to sin, they have victory over that sin because Christ is in them.
Activities. Encourage them to list out different sins that they struggle with. Then pray through each of these areas to help them realize that Christ gives them victory over those sins.
Truth to Teach. Before you became a Christian, you were a slave to sin, unable to honor God. But now you have been set free from sin and you have victory over sin's power, including death.
God the father
Application. Encourage them that even though the Trinity is impossible to understand completely, we know it is true because it is what the Bible teaches us. God is too great for our minds to comprehend completely.
Activities. Spend time in prayer with them simply praising God for His greatness.
Truth to Teach. As Christians, we worship only one God. But God is made up of three Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Therefore, God is three Persons, but He is only one God.
god the son
Application. Encourage them that Jesus was not just another good religious teacher; He was God in the flesh. This is the only way He could pay the price for our sins.
Activities. Talk with them about how Jesus' divinity and humanity make our Christian life possible. For example, because of His humanity, He knows how we feel and he is familiar with the struggles we experience. Because of His divinity, we know that He had the power to give us victory over our sins.
Truth to Teach. Jesus is fully God and fully man. When He came to the earth, He was God in the flesh.
god the holy spirit
Application. Talk with them about how the Holy Spirit works in our lives. He speaks to our hearts (Acts 28:25), He teaches us God’s Word (John 14:26), He gives us power to witness (Acts 1:8), He intercedes for us when we pray (Romans 8:26-27), He gives us gifts for ministry (1 Corinthians 12:4-11), and He convicts us of sin (1 Corinthians 2:11).
Activities. You might encourage them to keep a journal about how the Holy Spirit is working in their life each day. Encourage them to spend time at the end of the day thinking about how the Holy Spirit had led them and spoken to them during the day.
Truth to Teach. The Holy Spirit is fully God, also. He is the presence of God living in us.
Application. Encourage them to be faithfully involved in a church.
Activities. Invite them to come to your church with you. If they are not able to come to church with you, help them find a church that they can be involved in.
Truth to Teach. When we place our faith in Christ, we become a part of God's family. We are children of God and we belong to God's household, which the Bible calls the church. Our involvement in the church, therefore, is extremely important in our Christian lives.
the sacraments: The Lord's supper and Baptism
Application. Encourage them to participate in the Lord's Supper through their church. If they have not been baptized, encourage them to set up a time where they will be baptized in the church.
Activities. After they take the Lord's Supper for the first time, help explain to them the significance of this sacrament. Go with them to talk with a church leader about their baptism.
the bible... the word of god
Application. Encourage them to trust the Bible as the foundation for their faith.
Activities. Make sure they have their own Bible. Encourage them to begin reading it (possibly beginning in the book of John).
hearing the word of god
Application. Read the Bible with them. Show them some of your favorite verses in Scripture.
Activities. As you take them to church, show them the importance of taking their Bible and also taking notes when the Bible is taught. Model the importance of listening to God's Word.
Truth to Teach. The more we hear and know God's Word, the more we know God. This is why personal Bible study and gathering with the church to learn the Word of God is so important.
studying the word of god
Scriptures. 2 Timothy 2:15
Application. Encourage them to have a time of Bible study each day in their quiet time.
Activities. Choose a passage of Scripture and study it with them. After reading the passage, encourage them to ask four main questions:
- What does this passage say?
- What does this passage mean?
1. Look at the purpose of the human author…
2. Look at the purpose of the Spirit…
- Is this passage telling me to do anything?
1. To praise God for something?
2. To pray a prayer?
3. To claim a promise?
4. To obey a commandment?
5. To avoid a sin?
6. To follow an example?
- What will you do as a result of studying the passage?
memorizing the word of god
Application. Encourage them to make a Bible memorization plan. They might start by committing to memorize one verse per week and then progress from there.
Activities. Begin memorizing verses of Scripture with them. You might start with a verse that you have memorized which has been very helpful in your own Christian life.
Truth to Teach. The Bible commands us to hide God's Word in our hearts. As we memorize God's Word, we will find strength to overcome sin. Bible memorization will also help us in our prayer lives and our daily habits.
Application. Encourage them to have quiet time in prayer every day, but also to pray as they go throughout their day so that prayer becomes a lifestyle.
Activities. Spend time in prayer with them. You might even go on a prayer walk with them to model what it means to pray "as you go."
Truth to Teach. Prayer is the avenue we use to talk to God and listen to His Spirit. Anyone who has placed their faith in Christ can pray directly to God because of what Jesus did on the cross. We can pray anywhere and everywhere because we are in a relationship with God. Prayer is seeking God’s face, His will, His heart, His hand, and His strength.
sharing your story
Scriptures. Acts 26:9-23 (see how Paul shared about his life before Christ, 9-12; how Paul came to faith in Christ, 13-15; and how Jesus made Paul's life meaningful, 16-23).
Application. Encourage them to find three/five people this week to share their story with.
Activities. Share your testimony with them. Then help them write out their testimony. Then look for an opportunity to model sharing your testimony with someone else while you are with them.
Truth to Teach. One of the best ways we can tell others about God’s love for them is by sharing our own personal story of what Jesus has done in our lives. When we share our story, we share about our life before Christ, how we came to faith in Christ, and our life since we placed our faith in Christ. Every Christian has a story they can share.
the lordship of christ
Application. Encourage them to think of ways they can obey Jesus as Lord and King in their daily lives.
Activities. Make a list with the new disciple of things in our lives that change when we become a Christian.
Truth to Teach. When we trust Jesus to save us from our sins, we surrender our lives to follow Him as our Lord and King. Because Jesus is Lord of our lives, we repent of our sins and we obey Him with all of our hearts.
Application. Encourage them to think about areas of their life where they can trust God more.
Activities. Make a list of promises from God in Scripture that applies to their life. Then help them see how their faith can grow as they trust in these promises.
Truth to Teach. Faith is not a blind leap; faith s stepping out on the dependable, proven, always trustworthy promises of God. As we know God's Word more, the foundation for our faith strengthens. Faith is trusting that God will do what He says He will do.
love and service
Application. Encourage them to think about ways they can show God's love by serving the people around them. How can they serve in their community? How can they serve in their church?
Activities. Take advantage of an opportunity to serve alongside them. Model what it means to love God by serving others. A good place to begin would be by going out of your way to serve the person you are discipling.
Truth to Teach. The two greatest commandments are to love God and to love each other. Our love for God will be reflected in the way we love and show others. We show God's love most clearly when we are serving others.
the will of god
Application. Encourage them to pray about the major decisions they make in their life. Assure them that as they seek God and obey His Word, God will not let them go astray.
Activities. Make a list of verses from Scripture with them that demonstrate God's will for their lives. For example, we know from Matthew 28:19-20 that God's will for our lives is to make disciples of all nations. We also know from 1 Peter 1:16 that God’s will for our lives is to be pure and holy.
Truth to Teach. God's will for our lives is to make us more and more like Jesus every day. The majority of God's will for us is revealed in Scripture. As we obey God's Word and seek Him, His Spirit will guide us to make decisions according to His will.
Application. Encourage them to think about ways they can worship God on a daily basis, not just in times of prayer or Bible study, but in their everyday actions.
Activities. Gather together with them in a church for corporate worship, and then after you leave talk with them about how our worship doesn’t stop when we leave church; it continues with the way we live our lives.
Truth to Teach. Our lives were created to worship God through obedience and holiness. Though we gather together as a church corporately for worship, we don't have to come to a place in order to worship. Instead, our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and so everything we do to honor God is an act of worship.
know your enemy, Satan
Application. Talk with them about the strategies of Satan--temptation, deception, etc. Then encourage them with the armor of God mentioned in Ephesians 6:10-13. Stress that this is the armor we have as believers, not some mystical armor that we have to put on every day.
Activities. Share some of the ways you have seen Satan at work around you. Then give them an opportunity to identify how they have seen spiritual forces of evil at work around them.
Truth to Teach. As Christians, we are involved in a battle with spiritual forces of evil. Demons, led by Satan (the devil), are active in the world, trying to thwart the will of God and steal the glory that is due His Name. These spiritual forces of evil are the source of our temptations to sin.
Application. Encourage them to follow Jesus' example in Matthew 4:1-11 by being able to quote Scripture when tempted to sin. Make a list with them of sins that you might both struggle with and then list verses beside each sin that will help you in your fight against that temptation.
Activities. Talk with them about struggles with sin that you have. Tell them how you have learned to overcome temptation in those areas. Then ask them about sins with which they struggle, and help them think through how to overcome temptation.
Truth to Teach. As we grow in our Christian life, we overcome sin by the power of the Holy Spirit. The more we overcome sin, the more holy we become, which means we begin to look more like Jesus. We have battles every day with sin, and God has given us the power to overcome.
the second coming of christ
Application. Encourage them to think about how anticipating the second coming of Christ affects the way we live every day. If we knew he was coming back tomorrow, how would that change how we live today?
Activities. Make a list of things we might do if we were expecting a guest to come to our home. Then help them think about how they can do spiritual things to prepare for Christ's coming.
Truth to Teach. The New Testament teaches that Jesus Christ is going to come back one day in glory. His coming will be visible and triumphant, and he will come to raise the dead and judge the world. Only God the Father knows when this may happen, but the church is eagerly awaiting His return.
Scriptures. James 2:14-26; Tongue, James 3:1-12 and Ephesians 4:29-32; Time, Ephesians 5:15-20 and Colossians 4:2-6; Tithes, Malachi 3:10 and 2 Corinthians 8:1-15; Thanksgiving, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 and Psalm 136
Application. Help them think through ways they can obey God in these different areas of their lives.
Activities. Share with them the ways you have learned to obey God by showing your faith in each of these areas.
sharing the gospel
Application. Encourage them to share the Gospel with three people this week.
Activities. In order to help them be more comfortable sharing the Gospel, pretend like you are sharing the Gospel for the first time with them. Then give them an opportunity to pretend like they are sharing the Gospel for the first time with you. Make sure that you are both communicating each of the five truths mentioned above somehow in your presentation of the Gospel. It may also help to teach them verses from Scripture that illustrate these truths.
Truth to Teach. We are commanded to share the Gospel with other people so that they will place their faith in Christ. When we share the Gospel, we share about five main truths: (1) the character of God; (2) the sinfulness of man; (3) the gift of Christ; (4) the necessity of faith; and (5) the urgency of eternity. The Holy Spirit gives each of us power to share the Gospel and lead others to salvation in Christ.
reproducing your faith
Scriptures. Matthew 28:16-20
Application. Challenge them to lead three people to Christ and then teach those people how to follow Christ.
Activities. Review what you have done in their lives to help them understand what it means to be a disciple of Christ. Then encourage them to begin doing the same thing in someone else's life.
Truth to Teach. God commands all Christians to be involved in a global plan of making disciples in all nations. This means that we are commanded to reproduce our faith into the lives of those around us, leading them to know the love of Christ and follow Him as the Lord of their lives. Making disciples involves sharing the Gospel, leading people to be baptized in the church, and then teaching them to obey everything Christ commands us.
Remember that the goal of disciple-making is not just to teach a biblical truth. This is important, but it's just the beginning. As you teach a biblical truth, you want to show the foundation for that truth in Scripture(s). Then, you want to train your disciple to put that truth into practice in his or her life. Finally, you want your disciple to learn from you how to turn around and teach that same truth in someone else’s life by modeling the truth. This is what disciple-making is all about!