We are a community committed to cultivating a lifestyle of being and making disciples of Jesus Christ.
We desire to see followers of Jesus unite around the common goal of growing God’s kingdom through life-on-life discipleship.
Simply put, Jesus taught and modeled relational discipleship as a reflection of who He is — a personal God. As his apprentices, we seek to faithfully emulate this effective and Biblical practice.
Discipleship was the method Jesus, the apostles, and their disciples used to strengthen young believers and raise up leaders in the first century. The growth and effectiveness of the early church, which thrived amid a hostile and pluralistic culture, depended on successful discipleship. In so many ways, this is still the essential model for the church today.
What do we mean by “Discipleship?”
Biblically, the term “disciple” means “learner” or “apprentice.” What we see in the New Testament is a pattern of life-on-life relationships, deep personal connections with specific aims toward spiritual growth and development, that enhance but do not supplant more corporate expressions of the Church.
For our purposes, we define discipleship as an intentional, spiritual, life-on-life relationship in which one person helps another grow—under grace and into Christian maturity — through regular, focused, intentional time together, either one-on-one or in a micro-group setting.
Is the Discipleship Network necessary?
While life-on-life discipleship was the norm in the early church, that is far from true in most churches today. Have times changed? Do we need this type of structure as modern people? Consider the following:
of church leaders say “today’s churches are doing very well at discipling new and young believers.” *
Local surveys revealed that discipleship and relational well-being are the top most pressing concerns of pastors in Columbus. *
[Barna, State of Columbus, February 2021]
of Christians are interested in further programs to foster spiritual growth and development. *
Yet, only 20% of Christian adults are involved in some sort of discipleship activity (such as attending Sunday school or fellowship group, meeting with a spiritual mentor, studying the Bible with a group, or reading and discussing a Christian book with a group) outside of a Sunday worship service. *
[Barna, State of Columbus, October 2021]
Recent research shows that Christians in discipleship community (both being discipled and discipling others) do best across a range of outcomes*, including:
*[Barna, Growing Together Part 1, Part 3]
Satisfaction in their relationship with God
How their relationship with God impacts their daily lives
How important they view 1:1 relationships
Belief that Christians have a responsibility to invest in others
Knowing how to walk through hard times with a friend
Have friends they trust and can be vulnerable with
Likelihood of confessing sin to someone else
Are outwardly focused and have close relationships with people in their neighborhoods and at work
Describing a passion and joy in following God
Increased prayer and word time
Likelihood of investing spiritually in those outside their family
The Discipleship Network aims to come alongside the church and inspire disciplemaking at every level, for every believer.
A small group of people began meeting in 2012 to discuss how to fortify and amplify the voices committed to life-on-life discipleship in Columbus, Ohio. Beginning as a trio of networks (Men’s, Women’s, and Pastor’s Discipleship Networks), the networks envisioned a Columbus in which replicating personal discipleship was the norm, rather than the exception, among followers of Jesus throughout our city. By connecting disciple-making individuals to the broader network, we aim to pray for, encourage, empower, equip, and expand the reach of Jesus’ call to a life of discipleship for everyone.