Growing in relationship with Jesus – I’m a Jesus-follower
This describes a person who has entered into relationship with Jesus Christ. They understand and believe in Jesus as the Son of God and what his sacrifice means for forgiveness and cleansing in their lives. They are beginning to live out what it means to follow Jesus – to know him, to love him and to live with self-giving love towards one’s neighbour (family, friends, and strangers).

At this milepost of Christian formation what is needed to help a Jesus-follower further along their journey?

  1. Help developing relationship with Jesus. Now, entered into life with Jesus, this person needs to develop the basic rhythms of the Christian life that aid an ongoing personal relationship. Someone (or group) is needed to come alongside and model the practices of the Christian regula — gathering for regular, communal worship (where Jesus has assured us of his presence), reading and reflecting on what God has already communicated to human beings (Christian Scriptures), and prayer, or conversation/dialogue with God.
  2. Help in understanding the Bible better. Moving beyond basic teaching about Jesus, this person now wants to grow in their understanding of Scripture. They need to acquire an overview regarding a number of beliefs, values and practices that are central to the Christian faith. Help in basic bible study methods can greatly aid their own exploration of these teachings and themes. Doing this work together with other believers allows for developing an understanding of the historic Christian consensus regarding the Bible.
  3. Church leaders who model and reinforce how to grow. New followers of Jesus want to walk alongside mature Christians. They want to know how biblical teaching translates into everyday living. This need requires a Christian with some maturity to come alongside; teaching and modelling the reality of a disciplined Christian life. An ongoing small group community focused on developing and holding one another accountable for spiritual disciplines and Christian practices is essential for healthy growth.
  4. Compelling worship experiences. Just as Christian worship is a ‘drawing’ factor for seekers, it is now a confirmation of the relationship already birthed with Jesus. Gathering together with other believers in worship often provides for ongoing encounters with the living God that challenge and deepen the life of following Jesus.
  5. Challenge to grow and take next steps. Having entered into relationship with Jesus and been established in the beliefs and practices of the Christian faith, this person may flounder regarding “what next?” A little friendly, encouraging, nudge to take another step further may be needed and welcomed.

You will note that “a feeling of belonging” has dropped off this list of factors – because these processes have actually produced ‘belonging’ – they don’t need to ‘feel’, they have the experience.

Forward Development

  • Don’t hurry the new believer through this time of laying lifelong foundations. Developing the habits of personal spiritual disciplines and grace-filled actions are key to ongoing Christian growth.
  • At some point there will be a time of challenge to move forward and do deeper inner spiritual work and make greater use of spiritual gifts in grace-filled service.

Key attitudes toward the Jesus-follower
DISCIPLE intentionally
INVOLVE in ministry life

Recommended Resources

Discipleship Essentials: A Guide to Building Your Life in Christ [Amazon]
This study guide written by Greg Ogden has been available in continuous use for more than 20 years. Designed to be used in groups of 3, there are 25 sessions that lay a foundation of the basics of Christian living. Easily usable by everyday Christians to make disciples.

Navigators 2:7 Series [Navigators of Canada]
The 2:7 Series is built around the intent of Colossian 2:7 – “rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” This course (3 books, 11 sessions each) is designed for believers who are ready to go deeper in their understanding of spiritual truths and open to developing the habits/disciplines of Scripture study, memorization, prayer, and a regular devotional life. Life priorities are examined, participants learn natural ways to share their faith story.

God’s Grace Channels
This study curriculum (7 sessions) is designed to introduce some of the basic disciplines and practices of the Christian life that Wesleyans refer to as “the means of grace.” These are disciplines (like prayer and Scripture study) and practices (like active listening and hospitality) that aid Christian growth that encompasses both loving God and loving one’s neighbour. This study should be viewed as supplementary to other disciple-making resources that aid in the development of habitual practices. [FMCiC developed/tested]