In a discipleship system, converts learn behavior obedient
to the commands of Christ, including the command to make disciples. New faith
communities reach out to a people group, involve them in worship that praises
God and spiritual disciplines which systematically develop a person as a
Christian disciple and a maker of disciples.
Discipleship systems cooperate with Jesus to support God’s work of helping
people progress through phases of prevenient, justifying and sanctifying grace.
 The quote is a selection from David O. Kueker’s Fuller Seminary Doctor of Ministry project submitted in September, 2007, entitled Diagnosis, Dialogue, and Decision: A Threefold Process of Revitalization For the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
It is shared here in recognition of its 12th Anniversary along with comments to update and provide perspective on the material. The original project was a Training Manual/Study Guide of three Seminars supported by three chapters of research and an Introduction. The material is available for download at www.disciplewalk.com/Resources.html. In 2009 it was provided for purchase as a softcover book entitled Designing Discipleship Systems: Christian Disciple Making For Any Size Church, Any Theology through CreateSpace.com.
   
All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.
Faith communities practice spiritual disciplines. Traditional spiritual disciplines, however, as defined by Richard J. Foster in Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998), do not focus on evangelism. They arose during the era of Christendom when a local community was perceived to be a Christian one; spirituality therefore did not require evangelism so much as spiritual growth or developing one’s own spirituality. Traditional spiritual disciplines allow one to form one’s own spirituality, as Paul encouraged believers to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).
The Great Commission, however, does not speak of a people making themselves into disciples or nurturing their own spirituality, which is fundamentally an act primarily for one’s own benefit. The Great Commission commands that someone other than ourselves is to go in order to form us spiritually into disciples and then teach us to obey. Jesus directly made disciples and personally taught them to obey; to be like Jesus would be to do the same. The responsibility of all Christians to personally evangelize and methods to accomplish this goal are not to be found in most writing on spiritual maturity or spiritual disciplines that I have reviewed. One cannot be like Jesus without making disciples. The one exception outside of the church planting literature is Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What On Earth Am I Here For? (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 279, 281-288.