Traditional Spiritual Disciplines Do Not Make Disciples.

Section 2. Traditional Spiritual Disciplines Do Not Make Disciples.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13).


A. Traditional Spiritual disciplines include meditation, contemplative prayer, lectio divino, frequent communion, acts of piety and acts of mercy. Traditional spiritual disciplines operate primarily as a means of sanctifying grace for spiritual growth. They are a way to “work out your own salvation” (Philippians 2:12-13).[1]

B. Traditional spiritual disciplines, when practiced as intended, are a means of making yourself a better disciple, not for making disciples of others. The Great Commission calls for a disciple to be made by another disciple, not for a self-made disciple. It requires hierarchical relationships of influence between students and teachers. All students make their own disciples (prevenient grace) and eventually become teachers of their own disciples (sanctifying grace).





[1] 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 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

[2][3] [4][5] [6][7] [8]

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.

[1]Cf. Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path To Spiritual Growth (New York: Harper & Row, 1978). Covenant Discipleship is a movement within United Methodism to update and practice traditional spiritual disciplines; cf. Steven W. Manskar, “A Disciple-Making System,” Covenant Discipleship Quarterly (Spring 2006), under id=16579 (accessed June 15, 2007).

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