Discipleship Corner with Lori Joiner | Take Out the Guess Work on What to Teach Your Disciple

Many people are confused when it comes to the initial content they should use with the people they want to disciple — and for good reason. With so many great resources available online or at a Christian bookstore, it can quickly become information overload.

You may wonder, “Should I teach about prayer, the Holy Spirit or heaven/hell first? Should I start with temptation, spiritual warfare, creation, the fruit of the Spirit, grace, parables?”

All are great topics to eventually cover— but where should we start with our disciple?

I have discipled women of all ages and stages in their walk with God for over 30 years, and I ALWAYS start with the same six foundational lessons no matter what!

  • If my disciple is a new believer in Christ — the same six lessons
  • If my disciple is a person I met at church — the same six lessons
  • If my disciple is unsure where she is on her spiritual journey — the same six lessons
  • If my disciple grew up in the church – say it with me … The SAME six lessons

I use the same six foundational topics for each person I disciple (even if they have been a Christian for a long time). I call these lessons the Big Six. Here is a brief overview of each lesson:

  1. Understanding God’s Love: Do not make the mistake that people automatically believe God loves them. Often, they feel that God does not love them, that perhaps He is displeased with them because of some past decision or choice. Don’t jump over this foundational biblical teaching.
  2. Jesus is the Way to a Relationship with God: We live in a culture that has completely bought into the “good person” religion that teaches if you are a good person, you will go to heaven. That religion sounds good but breaks down almost immediately as you begin to ponder whose standard of good is being used. For example, if I lie 100 times in my life but give $3,000 to charity, am I better than a person who gossiped 50 times but gave $4,000 to charity? The goodness scale is a sliding scale where we tend to always put ourselves on the good end. Jesus did not teach a good person religion. He said He is the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to God except through Him (John 14:6).
  3. The Holy Spirit: He is called the Helper, and Jesus promised the Helper would come. This lesson shows, from scripture, who the Holy Spirit is when He was poured out on believers, and the significant role He plays in our lives today.
  4. How to Pray: Many people are so confused about prayer. They wonder about what they can pray for, if God is listening, why their prayers are hindered, and whether or not they sound okay praying out loud. This lesson covers each of those topics and more.
  5. The Trustworthiness of the Bible: There is so much evidence of why we can trust the authenticity of the Bible. This lesson takes a brief look at archaeological evidence for the Bible, the internal and external evidence of the Bible, and my favorite, prophetic evidence. Your disciple needs to know that what they are reading is trustworthy and stands up the fiercest scrutiny.
  6. Our Role in the Great Commission: This lesson unpacks God’s plan for each person to share what they know spiritually with others. We have an overarching purpose to our lives which gives direction to our lives, helps us make decisions, and brings clarity to our purpose and it is called the Great Commission.

I taught these six lessons so many times that I authored a six-week Bible study book based on them. I titled the book … drum roll please … Start Here Six Foundational Lessons for Growth in Christ.

So good news! You don’t have to go write a lesson, search the scriptures, or plan it out! I did it for you. And bonus, I put all the answers in the back of the book. If you are leading this with a small group, I also offer a free leader’s guide on my website.

There are two goals for each person we disciple. First, we desire for them to look more like Christ over time. Second, we want them to be able to teach what they have learned to another person at some point in the future.

The primary reason I use the same six lessons, even with a person who has been a Christian for a long time, is because I am setting them up to disciple in the future a person who may not know the Lord at all. Teach your disciple the basics if for no other reason than to ensure they are familiar with the six foundational lessons and are ready to use them with another who may never have attended church!

I discipled a young college student a few years ago named Kalisia. She had grown up in a Christian home, attended a Christian school and upon graduation, left for college. When she was home one summer, I discipled her using Start Here, my Bible study containing the big six foundational lessons. Kalisia knew many of the concepts and answers in the workbook; however, we still used the material all summer long. When she returned to school, she used those same six lessons with two of her sorority sisters who were new to faith in Christ.

There is no guesswork when it comes to what material to start with when discipling another person. Always start with the basics. Your disciple will learn and even review the foundational principles of our Christian faith and further, be set up well to disciple others in the future.

You can order your copy of Start Here Six Foundational Lessons for Growth in Christ on my website at LoriJoinerMinistries.org. Also, I have written a sequel to Start Here called Next Steps. It is the next seven lessons you would teach to your disciples. It covers topics such as identity in Christ, dealing with sin, communicating your personal testimony, plugging into a faith community and others.

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Lori Joiner


Lori Joiner is an author, speaker and discipleship coach in Katy, Texas. To invite her to speak at your next event and to browse her full list of Bible studies and resources, visit LoriJoinerMinistries.org. You can also find her podcast, Your Discipleship Coach, on Apple podcast and Spotify.