What Is the First Step on the Path to Discipleship after Someone Joins the Church?

They have visited your church frequently. They felt that your church should become their own church home. They went through a membership class. They are now officially part of the church body.

Now what?

We get that question, or questions similar to it, on a regular basis at Church Answers. In essence, church leaders are asking us to suggest a path of discipleship for their church members. Where do they go after they join the church and complete a membership class?

The Common Path

We typically suggest that church leaders emphasize the importance of regular gathering or attendance in worship services. Additionally, we recommend that members get in a small group. Church members get connected relationally to others in small groups. They tend to serve in ministries more readily and give more faithfully if they are in small groups.

We know if a church member attends worship faithfully, is active in a small group, serves in a ministry, and gives generously, he or she is likely to grow as a disciple. Such is the reason we’ve included these key points on the discipleship path.

But we knew something was missing. That led us to reconsider the first step in the path of discipleship. 

A Reconsidered First Step

The conversation went something like this in a consultation where we were helping a church develop and clarify a process of discipleship. “Thom,” the pastor began. “We love the path you’ve given our church. It provides a lot of clarity and gives us a clear plan forward.” He paused for a moment. “But,” he continued, “we really need something else beyond these points on the discipleship process. We need our members to know the big picture of what it means to live like a believer in Christ.”

Comments like those from that pastor led me to write I Am A Christian. After someone becomes a member of the church, they should get the big picture of what it means to live for Christ. Such is the purpose of this work. I Am A Christian offers straightforward biblical guidance on serving, witnessing, giving, and praying, all within the local context of your church.

The late Francis Schaeffer addressed this issue from the perspective of engaging culture over fifty years ago in his classic book, How Should We Then Live? He knew how critical it was for believers to know how to live in a challenging culture. I Am A Christian addresses that same issue in the context of the local church.

The Process Begins

That same pastor told me he planned to use I Am A Christian in all of the church’s small groups. He felt that every church member needed this guidance not only to become involved in the life of the church, but to know how to live outside the walls of the church.

It is with great excitement that I announce the release of I Am A Christian. We can only anticipate how God will use this book as the first step beyond church membership.

I pray it will make a difference in the lives of Christians.

I pray it will make a difference in the health of churches.


Special Offer for Churches!

Save 30% off I Am A Christian on Tyndale.com by using promo code (at checkout): RainerVIP (Expires: 4/30/23)

50-99 units: $7.86 each (48% off)

100-499 units: $6.81 each (55% off)

500+ units: $6.29 each (58% off)

Posted on March 27, 2023

With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
More from Thom

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • Bonjour où bonsoir selon le temps, vraiment je suis très intéressée par votre proposition, et par tous ce que vous faites. Et ce qui est notre soucis c’est que vous avez parlé. Car pour l’instant nous sommes désolés en matière d’argent. Vu la situation de notre pays qui ne vie que par cotisation pour défendre notre patrie. Et a part de ce la nous sommes toutes a fait contentes. Merci

  • Bob Myers says on

    Looks like another terrific resource for the Church, Thom! Thanks for being faithful to the work God has given to you.