Discipleship 101: How to Disciple a New Believer

There are two men in their 20s who recently came to faith in Christ through the ministry of our church. I baptized them a few weeks ago. I’m discipling these guys right now. So, the question of how to disciple new believers is foremost in my thoughts. Discipleship involves a lot, but one of the most important things we can do for a new believer is teach them how to read, understand, respond to, and apply God’s Word. I’m discipling these two men is through weekly Bible reading meetings. This is how I do it:

-Every Wednesday night these guys come to my house to join in our Neighborhood Group with people from our church and neighborhood.

-I have the guys come 30 minutes early so the three of us can read the Bible together.

-Each week we read one paragraph of Scripture together and talk about it. Right now we’re reading Philippians because it’s the book I’m preaching through, it’s the book all of our Neighborhood Groups are studying, and because I think Philippians is a pivotal book to master for new believers.

-Each week I ask the guys two questions about the text: 1) What did this text mean in its original 1st century context? 2) What does this text mean for our lives today? As we work through these two questions I connect our thoughts to Jesus and the bigger storyline of Scripture.

-From 30 minutes of Bible reading and these two questions, we end up covering a ton of theological and practical ground. Last week’s study of Philippians 1:3-11 led to conversation about the Trinity, the second coming of Christ, how to pray, and God’s sovereignty and human responsibility.

Most believers have never been intentionally discipled and most believers have no clue how to go about discipling a new believer. The problem is that people don’t have a good understanding of what discipleship is. Here’s a definition we use:

Discipleship is truth transferred through relationship.

It’s that simple. What I’m doing with these two men on Wednesday nights is transferring truth through a meaningful relationship. I love these two men, and they know it. In relationship with them, I’m teaching them the truth, and at the center of that process, we're learning how to read, rejoice in, and apply God’s Word.

This post originally appeared at JustinBuzzard.net.


Justin Buzzard is founder and lead pastor of Garden City Church, a new church plant in Silicon Valley. Buzzard has been dating his wife for nine years and is the father of three young sons. He speaks widely, writes at JustinBuzzard.net, and earned an MDiv at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is the author of Consider Jesus and mostly recently Date Your Wife. Twitter @JustinBuzzard