Discipleship Pathway


Jesus asked his disciples, and is asking his Church today, to make disciples of all nations.  As an expression of that Church, Heartland is also tasked with making disciples.  But, how exactly are we participating in that mission? And further, how will we know when we are doing that well? 

It can be hard to quantify, but the simple answer is, when those we are leading begin to live more and more like Jesus would if he were in their shoes.

But, how do we move in that direction? How do we help people grow in this way?

We may start by identifying some spiritual growth catalysts.  A catalyst is something that precedes, that ignites, that gets the ball rolling.  So, a growth catalyst is something that sparks someone to grow, in this case, spiritually!  

Here are five basic spiritual growth catalysts, call them experiences, activities, or behaviors, that can lead to spiritual growth:

  • Worship
  • Serving
  • Giving
  • Relationships
  • Teaching

We’d like everyone who calls Heartland their church home to step into each of these catalysts – because we believe they will likely grow spiritually as a result.

Strategy = Pathway

Now that we’ve identified our spiritual growth catalysts, we can begin to build a strategy for providing those opportunities to people.  Call this strategy, “The Discipleship Pathway.”  It is a series of actions and steps, that if taken, would provide great opportunities to encounter those spiritual growth catalysts.  This is an all-church ministry strategy.  Every ministry area participates in this same pathway.

Here is Heartland’s Discipleship Pathway:

  • Gather – Join us in praising God at a Sunday Service.
  • Connect – Find your people by joining a Group or serving on a Team.
  • Invest – Join in what God’s doing at Heartland by giving generously and/or leading a Group or Team.

Thus, we’d like everyone who calls Heartland their home to attend service regularly, join a Group or Team, and give.

Benefits of a Clear Pathway

Having a clearly defined pathway has a number of benefits for your congregation and staff team:

  1. It provides your staff with an easier answer when people ask how they can get involved or how they can grow spiritually at the church.
  2. It begins to create a unified culture around how the church thinks about spiritual growth and the strategy for pursuing it.
  3. It provides a baseline by which ministry areas align their events.  That is, if an event fails to clearly help people take their next step along the pathway, then either the event is not done or the event is altered to ensure that it does.
  4. It helps focus all-church communication around things that the church would like everyone to do, instead of promoting niche events to everyone that only a small subset of people will do.