This fall LifeWay Christian Resources is launching a new long-term study designed to "make disciples who make disciples."
"Disciples Path: The Journey" is a one-year small group study that focuses on helping new and existing believers understand and apply core Christian doctrines to become more mature disciples.
"Discipleship is one of those things we talk a lot about in the church, but many times we have difficulty putting it into practice," said Michael Kelley, director of groups ministry at LifeWay.
For that reason, LifeWay introduced a series of short-term studies called Disciples Path last year and is expanding it this fall into "Disciples Path: The Journey" for a more long-term approach.
"With Disciples Path," he said, "we wanted to provide a simple tool that equips people well to make disciples."
Each study in Disciples Path lasts five to six weeks and builds on the previous ones, Kelley said. "At the end, not only will people have moved forward in their spiritual journey, they will be ready to bring others along in that same journey."
This type of reproducibility and growth excites Josh Howerton, lead pastor of The Bridge Church in Spring Hill, Tenn. "The reason I'm so passionate about Disciples Path is it creates a clear path," Howerton said. "Clarity leads to movement."
After hearing from those who used the short-term study, leaders at LifeWay realized there was a need and desire for a longer, more comprehensive study using those same discipleship principles.
In creating The Journey, LifeWay developed four volumes that take participants through the life and work of Christ and into responsibilities of Christians. "A church can set aside a year, put all their groups on the same page, and walk through an intentional pathway of discipleship," Kelley said.
Each of the four volumes has 13 sessions that allow for group discussion, but also application and activities for participants to do in their personal time between meetings. The Bible studies, Kelley noted, encourage leaders to model a biblical life in front of and alongside group participants, who can then follow the leader's example and make disciples themselves.
It's that reproducibility that Kelley hopes will happen. "Our goal is to see over 13,000 groups on an intentional pathway of discipleship using 'Disciples Path: The Journey' in 2017," he said.
"But that's only the beginning. Because disciples are followers of Jesus who also make disciples, and because 'Disciples Path: The Journey' emphasizes the need for replicating faith, those groups will not only be making disciples but also raising up future disciple-makers who can turn around and lead others down the same pathway."
For more information on "Disciples Path: The Journey," visit DisciplesPath.com/TheJourney.
Aaron Earls is a writer for LifeWay Corporate Communications.