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  • Writer's pictureDarrell Stetler II

New Christian Discipleship Tool: Introducing the NewStart Discipleship Journal

Updated: Feb 14

I wrote recently about the Bible reading plan for new Christians that I found. But the truth is, that a new believer needs a lot more than just a Bible reading plan, right?

So I started brainstorming:

  • What do brand new Christians need in a good discipleship tool?

  • What do brand new believers need besides Bible reading to grow spiritually?

  • How can I help a new Christian stay in touch with a mentor?

bible reading checklist to a discipleship tool graphic

Here's what my new Christian Discipleship tool does:

1. My discipleship tool focuses on Jesus first.

I love the stories in Genesis, yes. But that's not where my new believers need to start! They need to start by being fascinated with this man who died, and CAME BACK TO LIFE. They need to be fascinated with his teaching, and clearly hear him give his invitation to discipleship, "Follow me!"

So, I begin with all my new disciples, taking a 50-day Bible reading journey that gives an overview of the big picture of the Bible, beginning with Jesus first.

2. My discipleship tool harnesses technology for good, not bad.

I think our spiritual rhythms should connect to rhythms that already exist. How many times a day do you pull out your phone? The average person checks their phone 53 times per day. And the average length between checks? 3 minutes.

What if we could harness this rhythm, this cultural liturgy, for good instead of evil?

As John Piper once pointed out (I'm paraphrasing): "We tend to blame technology for the lack of spiritual depth these days, but have you ever realized that it has never been easier to get addicted to the Bible than it is right now? You have it available at your fingertips every second, more than any generation in history! The truth is, we don't have a technology problem, we have a heart problem!"

I think he's right. So I designed my discipleship tool to integrate with technology, instead of fighting it.

Here's a screenshot from inside this discipleship tool:

screenshot from my discipleship tool for new christians

Each day has a QR code that can be scanned by a smartphone (along with a URL to type on a PC). More info on what that does below.

3. My discipleship tool features habit transformation, not Bible information.

We live in such an information-overloaded world, it's easy to think that our problem is just "one more fact" that's just out of our reach. But really -- if a person has been in church for 20 years, is it really some obscure Bible fact that is keeping them from maturing? Probably not.

It's probably that they have never developed the spiritual growth habits that they needed to be spiritually, mentally, and emotionally healthy. So any discipleship tool that's worth its salt ought to focus on habits that will build that person's capacity to love and obey Jesus through the Holy Spirit's power! After all, this is what Jesus said discipleship is: "Teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you." (Matthew 28:19-20)

So what does this tool for discipleship do? It's a habit-forming journal for brand new Christians... it focuses on 5 simple discipleship rhythms or habits that every new Christian should develop:

  • Bible reading: Features links to read the Bible right there on your phone!

  • Bible engagement: with a daily video to teach what the Bible means, and journaling space to promote interaction and questions about the Word of God, and daily meditation quesitons.

  • Praying the Scripture: Turning prayer and the Bible into a 2-way conversation with God, with sample prayers & journal space included.

  • Connection with Other Believers: more on this below

  • Obedience to Jesus: A focus on a loving obedience to Jesus Christ as their Forgiver and Leader

4. My discipleship tool facilitates connection with other Christians.

Several years ago, while attending a church conference, I had an epiphany. Dr. Steve Gibson was discussing the misunderstandings we have about discipleship. He pointed out that, in the American Church, our mental model of discipleship is similar to "getting people into spacesuits."

You know what a spacesuit is, right? It’s a self-contained environment that shields you from a hostile world. When an astronaut goes on a spacewalk, they wear a spacesuit that contains everything they need to survive in a hostile environment. In this kind of mental model, our discipleship process looks like this: When someone gets saved, we try to get them into a spacesuit as quickly as possible. Because without a self-contained environment to protect them, they won't survive!

This is not the right approach!

Discipleship in the Scripture is a whole lot closer to "a baby born into a family." Think of the metaphors: grow in grace, the milk of the Word, born again, little children, young men/fathers, etc.

Discipleship requires connection, and any discipleship tool for new Christians has to promote connection, or it's not going to be as effective as it should.

My discipleship tools increase engagement and connection through regular reminders to reach out and connect with a disciple-maker who is their mentor.

Want a free copy of my discipleship tool?

If you like what I am saying, you'll love to check out a free download of the NewStart Discipleship Journal!

You can download it instantly for free right here:

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