Discipleship Training Plan for Spiritual Growth

 In Articles, Discipleship, Spiritual Disciplines, Spiritual Growth

How can you devote yourself more to the Christian faith and develop in your Christian maturity? How can you be more and more like Jesus every day? The ideal way to grow is to implement a good training plan and develop good habits. This will allow you to go through the stages of the discipleship process on your way to spiritual maturity.

What is a discipleship training plan? A discipleship plan is an action plan that can motivate a Christian to be more committed to prayer, Scripture, and Christian service. With your own personal discipleship plan, you can thrive in your spiritual development and flourish in the world around you.


Types of Disciples

According to the Bible, a disciple is someone who believes in Jesus and seeks to follow him daily. Being a disciple of Jesus means that we seek to be like him every day and that we aspire to introduce him to others—we pursue to fulfill the Great Commission.

As we think about disciples, something we realize is that there are different categories (or types) of disciples. That’s not to say that some people or some types are more valuable than the others (that’s not my desired implication). However, I’m simply acknowledging that there are various seasons of the Christian life.

In a previous article, entitled The Five-Step Discipleship Process to Spiritual Maturity, I used a specific taxonomy to define different categories of persons, starting with unbelievers and examining the five stages of Christian maturity. That taxonomy looked like this:

  • Unconverted person
  • Intrigued unbeliever
  • New believer
  • Engaged believer
  • Disciple maker

That taxonomy and language made sense for that article. However, for the purpose of this article, I want to use slightly different language that I think might fit better with this article’s content:

  • New believers
  • Mature believers
  • Spiritual Fathers

This article will attempt to give each category a training plan for discipleship and answer relevant questions.


Bible Reading

Reading Scripture is an important part of being a disciple. The Bible is the guideline for a follower of Christ.

Discipleship Training for New Believers

If you are a beginner with Scripture, have no fear. We know there is a lot of overwhelming content in the Bible. The best action for someone who has just started to jump into the Holy Word is by reading the Gospels first. The Gospels are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the New Testament. I personally like starting with Mark.

While reading those books, consider asking yourself who Jesus is. By examining the verses, notice the character and nature of Christ. Also, try to figure out what the main themes are in his narratives and parables that he is sharing with his believers.

Discipleship Training for Mature Believers

Okay, so you already know the basics of the Bible, what next?

The next step in discovering the Bible is by reading the entire book through. Choosing to read the Lord’s book is full of commitment. Going through each book and reading the passages gives the reader more knowledge of why these books were written in the first place.

Another step to do is looking for the Gospel wherever you go. Whether you are in a classroom or hanging out with your friends, seeking the Gospel every second will inspire you and other people around you. Don’t be afraid to be different. If you do not fall under the pressure of society and live the way the Lord wants you to, you will motivate others and attract the right crowd of people to be around.

Discipleship Training for Spiritual Fathers

After reading through the entire Bible, pursuing the Gospel, and not being afraid to stand out of the crowd, what do you do next?

Study the scriptures by reading other commentaries and theological resources. It’s not only important to understand your own interpretation of the Bible. Discovering other resources by theologians will give you a new type of perspective on why that particular book is in the Bible in the first place.


Consecration Prayer

Praying is another important source for a Christian. Prayer is the gateway to talking and glorifying the Lord.

Discipleship Training for New Believers

If you’re new to the faith, prayer is a big resource to your spiritual life. The reason is that prayer is the gateway to communicating with the Lord. As easy as it sounds to talk to God, not having a prayer plan can leave a new Christian feeling lost. The first few steps:

1. Finding a time and place. Locate a quiet and peaceful area where you can concentrate on what you are telling the Lord. Set aside even as short of five minutes and talk to God each day.

2. Pray routinely. Get in a habit of talking to God about what you are feeling

3. Communicate to the Lord. Don’t be afraid to speak out loud to the Lord. It may feel weird at first to talk to him, but once you continue to persevere, you will hear back from Him. Speak to God just as you would talk to a friend.

Discipleship Training for Mature Believers

After prayer becomes a habit, learn to vary your prayers. Don’t only ask God for what you want, but also learn how to confess your sins and be thankful that you have been forgiven. It’s not easy admitting the wrong-doings that you have committed in the past. That’s okay, prayerful healing takes time. Just know that the Lord loves you with all of his heart and will forgive you. All He wants from you is to repent and give Him all of your anxieties, regrets, insecurities, and shame-filled memories.

Discipleship Training for Spiritual Fathers

The Bible is filled with prayer and personal confessions. There’s spiritual healing for confession and every follower of Christ should thank Him for that. Pray for reconciliation. Also, pair prayer with your Bible readings, and pray for missions and other issues that are on God’s heart. Putting your Bible study and prayer life together will give you spiritual strength.

Asking the Lord what he wants you to care for, is the best way to know what exactly you should be praying about. The Father cares about every impactful situation that is happening right now. Some examples of this could be political problems, famine, poverty, danger, war, hate, etc.


Right Relationships

Being surrounded by positive influencing friends and peers is very important. When a Christian has friends with the same morals, they inspire each other to become a better person with the Lord.

Discipleship Training for New Believers

Finding the right crowd to be surrounded by will help you to remain faithful. Seek people to help protect you from your own ignorance or rebellion. Also, have friends and loved ones who are willing to help protect you from your past mistakes. A good friend should help you not fall back into your own sin, they should encourage you to pursue the Gospel. Don’t surround yourself with others who are bad influences.

Go out and create friendships through a youth group or college and career program. Having friends with the same morals as you is very important. When you and your friends go on adventures and pray for each other, it brings a sense of community and love. That is what friendship is all about. Accepting each other and loving one another under the Lord’s name.

Discipleship Training for Mature Believers

Find people who are older and wiser than you. You can also have someone in your life that has experienced what you are going through so that they can be some type of mentor for you. Find a mentor. Rely on a person that has lived the Christian life longer than you, who will inspire you to keep walking in the path of the Lord. Having an authoritative figure in your life can also teach you about your faith.

Discipleship Training for Spiritual Fathers

Become a mentor yourself. Go out and seek younger Christians who you can help guide. Since you have a mentor that has advised you through your spiritual walk, it’s now your turn to return the favor to someone who was in your shoes. Use every topic and lesson that he or she has taught you and share that with the younger generation. Don’t be fearful and introduce yourself to a follower who is newer to the faith.



Fasting is how to devote yourself, even more, to rely on the Lord. Not eating and instead of praying and reading Scripture shows a Christian how far they can go into their life focusing only on God.

For Beginning Fasters

Before committing yourself to not eating or drinking anything, you should read about fasting before you devote yourself. A good example is Daniel and his fasting story.

For Experienced Fasters

After learning what fasting is and why you should fast in the first place, the next step is to fast for a small period of time. Whether that is a day or a few, the time that you would spend eating, read the Bible and pray to God. Make fasting a regular practice.



Volunteering and committing your time to help out your community and church is a really good way to enter into a social circle and create more positive relationships.

Discipleship Training for New Believers

Volunteering your time and helping out your church or community not only gets you out of the house but also can uplift your life. Find a way to serve in your church and go do it. Whether that is helping by greeting, trash pickup, volunteering for events, etc. It is detrimental for Christians to not be outward focused. When being at a spiritual high, sometimes followers of Christ can become egotistical and selfish because their life is going so well. Stay grounded and humble by helping your church out.

Discipleship Training for Mature Believers

Pair your Bible reading and prayer with your services. God is preparing you and guiding you, so try to look for things in your community or in your church that are seeking your help. Be more engaged and spend more hours per week providing services to help out. The more time you devote to volunteering, the more people you may have the opportunity to spread the Gospel to. You never know, the Lord works in mysterious ways.

Discipleship Training for Spiritual Fathers

Lead intuitively. Go out and become a mentor to help provide for your church or community. Seek other people and bring them in, maybe the person that you are already mentoring as well. Take charge and go make a difference in Jesus’ name.

There are so many different charities, organizations, and businesses you can build or lead in to help bring joy to your community. Some examples are starting up your own food drive, homeless shelter, or even creating a group to go evangelize. Anything that you do to help out your surroundings and others is love in God’s eyes.


Recommended Discipleship Training Books:


Related Questions

What is the meaning of discipleship? The definition of discipleship is the process of helping someone else become a strong disciple.

What is a discipleship relationship? A Christ-centered friendship, intentionally geared toward helping people develop in their faith and their Christian maturity.