5 key steps to running a dynamic discipleship class

August 23, 2023

Making disciples is at the core of every fruitful congregation. Whether mentoring one-on-one, gathering in weekly Bible studies, or coming together to learn every Sunday, discipleship can happen in multiple ways. 

Offering a discipleship class is one of the best ways to grow and connect the church as you fulfill Jesus' command in Matthew 28:19-20 to "go and make disciples." As church leaders, you can create an intimate environment where new believers come to learn more about scripture and how to live a Christian life.

While leading a Christian discipleship class can be rewarding, it also can be intimidating at times. Thankfully, there are simple ways to prepare for success. Let’s take a look at five main steps to lead your students into a deeper relationship with God.

5 key steps for creating a dynamic discipleship class

1. Set clear objectives for your discipleship class

Before your first class, take some time to consider the needs of the students you'll be leading. What challenges are they facing? Do they have any personal goals or desires? Gain insights into their spiritual maturity, and then take it to God in prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance in establishing an overarching goal for this discipleship class. 

You can then break down each objective into actionable, measurable outcomes. What should students be able to do, know, or feel by the end of the class? What will success look like for them? Cast a clear vision of these goals at the beginning of the course to create a sense of purpose and motivation.

2. Design an engaging discipleship curriculum

A discipleship curriculum is more than just a collection of lessons and resources relaying information—it's a framework for teachers to follow as they guide students on a journey of discipleship. Start by selecting a theme or collection of topics that best serve the class goal and incorporate a variety of content types, such as discipleship books, videos, podcasts, and interactive exercises.  

Whether you purchase a curriculum or build your own, be sure it's rooted in a strong foundation of Biblical truths. Extra-biblical resources and strategies are helpful tools, but the Bible should always be at the core of your teachings. Consider adding daily reading assignments or weekly scripture memory goals to ensure the Word is central to your discipleship plan.

3. Encourage active participation

People who feel comfortable and welcome are more inclined to participate in class, and creating a safe and inviting environment starts with their teacher. Set the example by showing that you're at ease, friendly, and willing to share with an open heart. Before each meeting, try using fun icebreaker questions or activities to lighten the mood and warm everyone up. 

While teaching, ask open-ended questions that promote conversation and deeper engagement. Be sure to give students enough time to reflect and process before answering. As each person shares, truly listen and respond positively as they offer their answers and unique perspectives. Be open to answering their questions as well, encouraging curiosity and vulnerability.

4. Provide personal support

As a disciple-maker, you're going beyond simply teaching others about Jesus Christ and how to have an intimate relationship with him—you're building an authentic connection with each student and demonstrating what being part of a Christian community is like both inside and outside discipleship classes.

Make a genuine effort to befriend your students. Show them you care about their personal lives by scheduling one-on-one meetings, offering prayer, and regularly checking in with them. Be empathetic if they're struggling with their Christian spirituality or life challenges, and provide practical help. Make it clear that your support extends beyond just classtimes.

5. Promote application & accountability

Live out the counsel given in Hebrews 10:24-25, where we are instructed to "consider how we may spur one another toward love and good deeds" by "encouraging one another." Give your students practical action steps they can take to start building a fulfilling Christian life. You can assign tasks to memorize scripture, keep a journal, and share the gospel. Then, incorporate accountability to help students maintain an active approach to Christian discipleship.   

Foster a culture of accountability by dedicating a specific time and space for practicing their discipleship training during class. For example, you could invite students to share a personal testimony that reflects how they've applied foundational principles learned in class. This opportunity will help inspire other people and show you how they're progressing in their personal spiritual growth.

Use technology to enhance your discipleship class

Leveraging innovative technology is a great way to increase participation in your discipleship classes and foster deeper relationships as a group. While they’re not in class, you can give students discipleship resources through your church app and website to learn at any time and connect anywhere they go.

With tools like Subsplash Messaging, you can have meaningful conversations all week long and pass along important information—to individuals or the entire group—in a safe and secure environment. Share relevant media items like sermon videos and passages from your Bible-reading plan directly from your church’s media library. Students can even submit their prayer requests directly in-app for the whole group to see and support them.

If you're interested in learning how Subsplash can help your discipleship class create deeper connections and build stronger relationships, [.blog-contact-cta]let's chat! [.blog-contact-cta]

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