How to Choose Life-Changing Discipleship Resources

There are literally thousands of discipleship (or spiritual formation) resources available through Christian bookstores and web sites. Most discipleship books offer solid Bible teaching covering the basics of Christianity and information on how to become a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ. The choices are dizzying! This article is designed to give you information not found elsewhere about choosing the best resources to develop new Christians into healthy, self-feeding disciples.

Content is king, but it must share the throne

Finding resources that reflect sound theology is critical and a great place to start in your hunt for the best. Just don’t make content your only priority. There are many other factors one must consider when choosing workbooks or guides for spiritual development.

How do your new Christians learn?

Years ago, a cognitive learning approach was standard-issue in publishing discipleship resources. Heavy reading characterized this kind of learning. The problem with word-heavy discipleship resources is that people today don’t read! They watch an average of twenty hours of television a week, they’re constantly on the internet on a social networking web site, or reading text messages from friends… they are not reading full-length books.

Today people learn more through interaction and relational experiences than ever before. If the resource you choose requires the user to sit and read hundreds of pages, quietly reflect on what has been taught, and personally apply the new found knowledge, it will gather dust and not be used. Look for discipleship tools that have short daily growth guides that encourage the user to talk about what they are learning or do an activity that shows a changed heart and mind.

If you don't know where you are, you can't go anywhere on your own

Most new believers being discipled are given a book and told they need to read it and apply what is found inside. Someone else has determined that the new Christian is in need of the content the resource provides. While this may work for some, it is far more powerful for a person to discover their own need for a deeper walk with Christ. When you review discipleship resources in a series, make sure the first resource is a self-assessment tool that covers the need to confess sin, find roots of satanic strongholds, and gives the user a sense of responsibility to become a self-disciplined person who is in charge of their own spiritual growth.

Discipleship should be relational

Classroom or Sunday school programs disciple people, but it’s easy to miss a meeting or drop out or just remain quiet in a larger group. Look for discipleship resources that are geared around spiritual parenting and employ a mentor-protege relationship the way Jesus developed His disciples. This will be far more transformational for the new believer. Plus, it will propel the disciple-making mentor into a new level of spiritual maturity in the same way a young mother matures when she takes full responsibility for her firstborn child.

Are the basic discipleship resources you are currently reviewing missing key elements?

Look for materials that cover the basics of the faith, freedom from strongholds, a biblical examination of value systems, relational evangelism, and spiritual gifts. Much of the discipleship curriculum available today completely ignores one or more of these vital areas.

TOUCH Outreach Ministries has developed a comprehensive discipleship pathway that incorporates all of the features in this article. If you would enjoy reading free samples from the Your Equipping Journey Series, we have made them available in the detailed description of each resource in the series. There's also a free guide to help you understand how the materials integrate into a church's calendar and the retreat resources we offer.