Lessons in Discipleship

I recently had the chance to share on the New Churches website about lessons in discipleship. The feedback has been really positive, so I’m sharing what I wrote for their blog here. I hope you enjoy.

40 Lessons in Discipleship

Discipleship is the key to movemental thinking when it comes to churches that plant churches. Here are 40 lessons in discipleship and mentoring that I have learned throughout my life. Some of these lessons I learned from people who discipled me. Other lessons are what I’ve learned as I have discipled others. I pass them on in hopes that they may be a blessing to you and those you disciple. I share them in sections of five because each statement will be richer as they are reflected upon.
[Tweet “Discipleship is the key to movemental thinking when it comes to churches that plant churches.”] Thirty-nine of the Psalms contain the word Selah to break up the Psalm. Selah is a Hebrew way of saying “stop and listen” or “think about it.” So after each section of lessons I will put Selah. These lessons are not in any particular order.

  1. Discipleship takes place in the context of joining God in his mission, for Jesus calls his disciples immediately on an adventurous mission.
  2. In order to disciple others, one must be himself a disciple of Jesus.
  3. Christian discipleship is about helping people follow Jesus.
  4. Discipleship takes place when we are “with people” as Jesus was with The Twelve.
  5. Discipleship becomes personal and powerful in the informal daily rhythms of life.


  1. Everything we do is informed by our theology, so in discipleship we equip people to know and abide in the Word and have the Word dwell in us.
  2. Mutuality and reciprocity bring richness to mentoring relationships.
  3. Learning to ask the right questions is vital in discipleship and life.
  4. Discipleship multiplies joy, divides sorrow, and expands the kingdom.
  5. The richest discipleship develops through natural friendships or into friendship, as opposed to implementing programs programmatically.


  1. When we disciple others, we should call out what the Holy Spirit is putting in.
  2. When walking alongside others, we must help them focus on where God is bringing them, not simply on where they have been.
  3. While discipleship requires contextualization (it will look different today than it did thirty years ago), the aim is still to be like Christ.
  4. All ministry and no play lends itself to sterile discipleship relationships, while working and playing together add depth.
  5. It is wise to learn both from ancient and contemporary disciples of Jesus.

For the rest of the 40 lessons in discipleship click here
[Tweet “”Discipleship takes place in the context of joining God in his mission” @dreamawakener”] Discover V3 Church Planting Partnerships!

About the Author

JR Woodward


JR Woodward has been passionately planting churches on the East and West Coast that value tight-knit community, life-forming discipleship, locally-rooted presence and boundary-crossing mission for over 25 years. He is the author of Creating a Missional Culture (IVP, 2012) and co-author of The Church as Movement (IVP, 2016). He co-founded the Missio Alliance and currently serves as the National Director for the V3 Church Planting Movement. He is the co-founder of the Praxis Gathering and writes for numerous websites and journals. He has a Masters of Arts in Global Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary and is working on his PhD at the University of Manchester (UK). He loves to surf, travel, read, skateboard and meet new people. He enjoys photography and film and tries to attend the Sundance Film Festival whenever he can.

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