At Hyde Park United Methodist, you’ll hear a lot of talk about the Discipleship Pathway, our uniquely Methodist framework for helping people become and grow as disciples of Christ.
The Discipleship Pathway includes foundational elements for growth in relationship with God and the church:
Discipleship – We define a disciple as “a follower of Jesus whose life is centering on loving God and loving others.”
Stages of Growth – We grow closer in relationship with God by stages, from the initial “I don’t know if I believe in God” to the most intimate “Following Jesus is the most important thing in my life.”
Roles – God, our church and we as individuals each play a role in our spiritual growth.
Spiritual Practices – As we grow closer to God, our spiritual practices change.
God’s transformation of the world – Our discipleship becomes part of God’s plan to redeem this broken world.
Three corporate spiritual practices—in which we engage as a faith community
Small Group Community
Four individual spiritual practices which some remember by the acronym GRIP:
(Giving Generously, Reading Scripture, Invite Others and Prayer) that contribute to personal growth
Belief + Action = Transformation
So, what does this mean? As Christians, we want to ground the definition by following Jesus, loving God and loving others. Following Jesus suggests that you are attracted to Jesus and his teachings. It also suggests you believe who he, and the church, says he was — God incarnate — and that you are willing to trust him for your personal salvation and for bringing healing and wholeness to the world.
Is belief enough to be considered a “follower of Jesus”? The word “follow” implies more. Action is required in order to be a follower of Jesus. Based on Jesus’ assertion that the greatest commandment is that “you shall love the lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind” and the second is like it, “love your neighbor as yourself,” we have described this action as loving God and loving others.
Discipleship is about growing in belief and growing in action. Note that usually belief and action don’t change at the exact same time. Sometimes belief is enough to change action, sometimes action happens first, and then we figure out what we believe through action.
As we grow in belief and action, hearts are transformed … for us, for the church and for the world. As followers of Jesus grow in these areas, things transform. God utilizes our growth as individuals and faith communities to participate in his transformation of the world.