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The Columbus Discipleship Network aims to provide inspiration, equipping, and community for a lifestyle of disciplemaking.

Our Vision

We desire to see followers of Jesus unite around the common goal of growing God’s kingdom through life-on-life discipleship.

Image by Priscilla Du Preez
Our Vision

Why 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.

Why Discipleship?

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, life-on-life relationship in which one person helps another grow into Christian maturity & multiplication through regular meetings to focus on studying the Bible, ministry coaching, personal counseling, and prayer, in the context of a close personal friendship.

What is "Discipleship"?

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:

 Only 1% 

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]

Is the Discipleship Network necessary?

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.


Pastor’s Discipleship Network

The Pastor’s Discipleship Network consists of area pastors from over a dozen churches committed to learning about and sharing best practices for discipleship.

Discipleship Network

The Columbus Discipleship Network consists of both staff and everyday believers of diverse congregations throughout our city. Open to anyone who is interested, we aim to equip and encourage each other in life-on-life discipleship.



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.

Our History
The Discipleship Network is guided by a team of committed leaders in consultation with pastors and lay-leaders in the broader network.

Rachel Smith

Executive Director


Anne Durell

Core Team


Doug Franck

Core Team



We are fortunate to partner with many like-minded organizations committed to growing God’s kingdom in Columbus.

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