What is Spiritual Growth/Discipleship?

Spiritual Growth

Why is discipleship important? When you confessed your trust in Jesus Christ, you were made alive in Christ. Although you were an adult, you were a spiritually baby. God wants to grow you up as a spiritually mature person.  Although we all mature at different rates, God desires that we all grow in Christ.

  • I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one. (1Jn 2:12-13)
  • I write to you, little children, because you have known the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one. (1Jn 2:13-14)
  • …as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, (1Pet 2:2)
  • And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. (1Cor 3:1)
  • For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. (Heb 5:12)


Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matt 28:19-20)

I want you to know that if you cannot define discipleship, you are not alone. This is what Grant Skeldon wrote, “So Jesus tells us to do four primary things in the Great Commission…It doesn’t make sense to not plan on making disciples.” [Grant Skeldon, Passion Generation, p. 70,71]  I encourage you to find a good church that has a discipleship plan.

Small groups in many churches are a substitute for discipleship. “Most pastors admit that other than small groups, their church really doesn’t have a concrete plan of action for creating new disciples.” [Grant Skeldon, p. 68-69]

You have been set free in Christ. In order to stay free, you will need to become a disciple of Jesus Christ. Mulberry Tree Ministries fills the gap between when you are released and when you find a church home. This is what others have said about discipleship.

  • Today, as always, Jesus is calling for disciples, not just Sunday Christians. His men and women refuse to yield to the lure of the world’s system. In the world, yes; of the world, never. [Disciples Are Made, Not Born, Walter Henrichsen, p. 72]
  • “The only consistent, long-term motivation for the Christian to be selfless and to serve others is gratitude for what God has done for them.” [Regi Campbell, Mentor Like Jesus, p. 13]
  • “…Christian men who are disciplined are the exception, not the rule. Why? The answer is that the popular, politically correct culture of the new millennium suppresses manliness, and especially manliness and leadership of men who attempt to follow Christ.” [R. Kent Hughes, Disciplines of A Godly Man, p. 21]
  • “In order for us to effect change in our lives, our families, our church, and the world, we must become godly men [and women] seeking a relationship with Jesus.” [Jody Burkeen, Man Up, p. 25]
  • “Christian, you have been created and called by God to grow as a disciple and to give your life to making disciples. And this cause, more than any other, is worth giving your life to.” [Robby Gallaty, Growing Up How To Be A Disciple Who Makes Disciples, p. xvii]

Goals Of Discipleship

“The New Testament is a book about disciples, by disciples, and for disciples of Jesus Christ.” [Grant Skeldon, p. 72]

  1. Faith ownership:
    1. You have to believe in your heart that Jesus rose from the dead
    2. You have to confess the Lord Jesus
    3. …that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Rom 10:9-10)
  2. Prioritize faith:
    1. Make God’s kingdom your top priority (Matt 6:33)
    2. Obey Jesus (Matt 7:21)
  3. Self-initiating:
    1. Hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matt 5:6)
    2. God rewards you when you seek Him (Heb 11:6)
  4. Reproducing:
    1. We do the work of the ministry (Eph 4:12)
    2. Build up others and impart grace
      1. No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. (Eph 4:29 CSB)
    3. Fully devoted
      1. Make Jesus your first love (Rev 2:4)
      2. Love God will your whole being (Mk 12:30)
      3. Die to your fleshly desires daily
        1. If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. (Lk 9:23)

[Institute for Prison Ministries]