assess discipleship maturity video
Make Disciples by NextSteps

How to Make Make Disciples

HOW TO MAKE DISCIPLES: “Yet there is only one thing I can think of more foolish than trying to gauge spiritual growth. And that is: Not trying to gauge it. For that which matters to us is that which we try to keep track of.”

(John Ortberg, pg 3 of Follow Me)

Introductory Video: Active Discipleship

The Question Is Not If the Church Should Make Disciples, the Question Is How!

Matthew 28:18-20 conveys the Church’s #1 Mission: “Making disciples of Jesus Christ”. Yet, many pastors have no real idea about their people’s spiritual maturity status. There is a tension in the greater church culture today between two discipleship philosophies: Passive Discipleship and Active Discipleship. If you want to know which is the most popular method, the answer is clearly Passive Discipleship.

Passive Discipleship Challenges

Passive Discipleship is popular because it requires little effort. Church leaders advise attendees to come to Sunday services and join small groups to foster relationships that may lead to discipleship. While Passive Discipleship can unintentionally make disciples, it lacks guarantees of healthy growth and hinders leaders from understanding their congregation’s spiritual state. It also fails to provide appropriate resources for spiritual development or cater to varying spiritual levels in the congregation. This one-size-fits-all approach results in simplistic teaching that only satisfies basic spiritual needs, rather than deeper growth.

Active Discipleship, A Better Strategy

Is ignorance bliss? Not when it comes to making disciples within your congregation. Active Discipleship, the traditional practice of interpersonal disciple-making, aims to intentionally help each willing disciple in your church contribute to the making of other disciples. But, how can such an ideal be supported in our growing churches?

Most Active Discipleship gurus today advocate a relational approach. This approach is easy and aligns with the common Passive Discipleship methodology prevalent today. We agree that discipleship is always based on relationships. However, the idea of one person being responsible for another person’s lifelong disciple-making is not seriously advocated, nor is it even possible. What is needed is a system, or architecture, that can be implemented in any church to empower their people to intentionally disciple one another and to match people’s spiritual maturity levels with appropriate equipping resources. Unfortunately, previous solutions have failed because they offered a one-size-fits-all approach, requiring diverse churches to conform to their specific model. Our solution does not make that mistake. Our solution is called NextSteps.

NextSteps, the Refined Active Disciple-Making Solution

With NextSteps, this goal is finally attainable, even in the largest churches. Many struggle to establish and support a fully integrated Active Discipleship system within their church. Previously, monitoring the spiritual growth of each member was challenging and time-consuming. Consequently, most church leaders are unaware of their congregants’ spiritual status. Now there are no more excuses. NextSteps offers the infrastructure necessary for your church’s disciple-making program. It simplifies discipleship tracking and equipping.

The real challenge is not to merely assess people regarding their maturity in Christ, but more importantly, to equip them to grow in their faith regardless of their present faith status. So, NextSteps is much more than an assessment, it is also an equipping platform that integrates with your church’s discipleship strategies.

“NextSteps is much more than an assessment and tracking program, it is also an EQUIPPING PLATFORM that integrates with your church’s discipleship strategies”

So, to make sure we got it right, we tested alpha-versions of NextSteps for 14-years before making it available to your church.  As a result of our research, we learned that a disciple-making program will only be successful if it is completely customizable.  NextSteps is designed to reflect your church’s theology, ministry philosophy, and unique church culture.

“NextSteps is designed to reflect your church’s theology, ministry philosophy, and unique church culture”

To begin with, NextSteps offers clarity and a process for your church’s Active Discipleship program strategy. How? Well, it begins with our three system modules.

  1. ASSESSMENT MODULE (Click to Learn More)
  2. EQUIPPING MODULE (Click to Learn More)
  3. REPORTING MODULE (Click to Learn More)

Make Disciples Jump Links

Make Disciples Through NextSteps Information


Making disciples begins when your people register a user account with your church’s version of NextSteps. Then, they complete some online questions that will help them assess their present spiritual status and felt-needs. Our default questions focus on life-application of Biblical principles. In short, we desire that your people’s lives reflect the doctrine they say they believe. The question pool assists the user in identifying areas of inconsistency within their faith and practice. Our default question pool is built around three core disciple-making phases: Discover, Develop and Deploy.

Each one of these core phases contains three sub-phases. These results in Nine Phases of Spiritual Growth. Each one of these nine phases includes its own Disciple Equipping Center. Keep in mind, your church may edit the theological labels presented below. Click on Assessment Report to view a sample user report.

assess discipleship maturity

CUSTOMIZABLE: What Will Your Church’s Version of NextSteps Look Like?

Your church staff may edit almost everything, including our default titles, question pools, and reports. Your version of NextSteps can truly reflect your church’s unique discipleship culture.

INSTRUCTIONS: Please select the [View Screen Shot] buttons below to view the NextSteps editing interface. Select the [Learn More] buttons below to view additional detailed information.

1) CUSTOMIZE the Discipleship Assessment Question Pool

Church leaders may edit assessment questions to reflect your church’s spiritual growth model. Click the “Learn More”button for more information about this assessment. Click the “Screenshot” button to view the editing interface.

2) MODIFY the Assessment Reports

Our NextSteps software offers powerful reporting features including personal and church-wide global assessment reports. Select the “Learn More” button to learn about our reporting features. Select the “Screenshot” button to view a sample report.

3) DEFINE the Equipping Center to be Unique to Your Church

Pastors and staff may assign the programs, classes, small groups, and other resources from our library, selections they believe are best suited for each one of the nine spiritual growth phases. Or, they may create their own programs, classes, small groups, etc. Select the “Learn More” button for detailed information about our Equipping Center features. Select the “Screenshot” button to view the Equipping Center interface.

Make Disciples through our NextSteps subscription-based program, which is integrated with our Volunteer Mobilization Assessments. Thanks to the NextSteps Disciple-Making Program, it is now possible to know that the people you are considering for ministry positions will be both gifted, and sufficiently mature in their faith, to assume such responsibility.

To view a sample NextSteps Discipleship Assessment & Tracking system report, please select the button to the right.