What is Discipleship Coaching?

What is Discipleship Coaching?

*Enjoy this guest post, courtesy of Darrell Stetler & NewStart Discipleship

“Un-discipleship is the dirty little secret of the American church.” – Dallas Willard

Agree, or disagree? Regardless of our opinions, most pastors agree that we are in a crisis of discipleship in the United States. Need some proof?

A recent survey by the Barna Group shows that only 1% of pastors say that churches are doing well at discipling new/young believers. That means 99% of pastors know there’s a problem!

But it isn’t just “someone else's” church. In that same Survey, only 8% of those same pastors say their church is doing very well at discipling new believers. Clearly, pastors need help connecting with potential disciples. But HOW?

Well, you could Google it. You could search for a hashtag on discipleship, or spend 30 minutes watching discipleship videos on Tiktok.

Or you could take a leap into deep learning and intentional action with discipleship coaching.

What is discipleship coaching?

At its core, discipleship coaching is a practice designed to help you create a disciple-making culture within your local church.

A discipleship coach can help you:

  • establish a vision for your ministry

  • outline a clear discipleship pathway

  • create a plan for aligning your church leadership

  • learn to communicate clearly about discipleship

  • preach more intentionally about it

  • locate and recruit your first disciples

  • and more!

What makes discipleship coaching different?

The Coaching Difference #1: Personal attention

One of the main benefits of discipleship coaching is that you get personal attention from a dedicated expert. It’s one thing to read a blog post about discipleship, yet it’s something entirely different to receive focused coaching on that topic.

Any discipleship coach who is worth your time will always include a coaching call, an opportunity to ask questions… a way to get clear where you can improve the fastest. Many pastors need discipleship coaching in order to attract and disciple new believers, so working with a professional coach within this niche can make a huge difference.

The Coaching Difference #2: Practical tactics

You will notice that many coaches tend to rely on theory and rarely include any real-life practice. With discipleship coaching, you always have access to professional tactics and ideas that you can start implementing right away.

It’s an exceptional way to do more than simply boost your knowledge. It’s a way to really dig down into action steps that will move the needle on discipleship in the local church.

You also get to work with a vetted expert that has lots of industry experience.

The Coaching Difference #3: Focused thinking

Jesus never presented The Great Commission as a nice “spiritual option” to get around to if we had the time and money. His command was “make disciples!” Yet, how many pastors have never sat down and taken time away from the chaos and whirlwind of ministry to think through the questions:

  • What is a disciple?

  • How can I create a clear invitation into discipleship?

  • What am I really trying to produce?

  • How should I promote discipleship in my church?

  • What tactics would make my ministry team and church board go along?

One of the advantages of discipleship coaching is that it allows you to focus the significant power of your mind, guided by the Holy Spirit, on this topic. When that happens, you will progress a lot faster than just going to “Google Seminary” by reading random blog posts on the topic.

Discipleship Coaching allows you to dedicate time to strategic thinking on discipleship. In the long term, focused thinking always boosts development and delivers excellent results.

The Coaching Difference #4: Action-oriented

Henri Bergson once said, “Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought.”

Thinking is never enough, is it?

When it comes to coaching, actions that lead to results is always the #1 goal. With discipleship coaching, you can create plans… then implement them efficiently! In doing so, you’ll find create alignment of:

  • your values and vision

  • your leadership team

  • your communication to the congregation

  • your preaching and worship

  • your time schedule

… on this crucial topic, giving you leverage to move forward without so much wasted motion.


1. Because discipleship is the main point of the Great Commission.

What was on Christ's mind when he was about to leave his disciples behind, and ascend to the Father? Here's his final command:

In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

If you read the Great Commission in Greek, you’ll find that these words are not all equal. The primary command of the passage is two words: "MAKE DISCIPLES." The other words are subcategories of the big idea.

As someone has said, "The main thing is to keep the main thing, the MAIN THING!" Jesus has no “plan B” if the church doesn’t focus on the Great Commission!

Yet we have coaching for worship leaders... coaching for executive pastors... training for children's volunteers... Do we take time for discipleship coaching?

2. Discipleship is not something that many pastors are trained to do.

If you’re like most pastors, you probably took more theology classes than you did discipleship training! Even though it’s mission critical, too many pastors have not been trained to lead in this area.

Due to cultural and societal changes, it can be more challenging for young believers to receive the discipleship they urgently need to distinguish themselves as followers of Christ, and not the world-system.

Discipleship coaching can help make their process of discipling new believers and leading the local church to value discipleship more efficient and effective.

3. Discipleship is not automatic.

Unlike other things, discipleship is not something that everyone automatically moves into after salvation. After all, we don’t grow automatically; we die automatically! Where discipleship coaching shines, is helping the awkward become a natural part of the rhythm of a pastor’s life and a church’s life.

Working with a veteran church leader who knows how to tackle all these challenges can help it become a reality. It becomes a lot easier to help and assist people toward Christlikeness if you have the right tools and knowledge, along with a plan to make discipling new believers more intentional.

How can you improve your discipleship strategy?

Creating or improving a current discipleship strategy might seem difficult and very time-consuming. However, with the right program and assistance, this entire process can be a lot easier. Thanks to the Discipleship Coach, you can have direct access to a complete discipleship program that’s comprehensive, efficient, easy to go through, and full of incredible information.

The Discipleship Coach program comes with:

  • a 22-question Discipleship Assessment

  • a 10-video coaching course

  • a 37 page printable workbook

  • a 30-minute coaching call.

It’s everything you need to not only develop a discipleship strategy, but also remove any preconceived notions and learn how you can acquire and develop more mature believers for your church community.

This program was created by Darrell Stetler II, who has worked as a pastor in South Oklahoma City since 2003. Over the years, Darrell learned the ins and outs of how to create a discipleship strategy, how to avoid pitfalls, and how to efficiently disciple new believers. He created a set of discipleship strategies that any size ministry can follow, and they are straightforward to implement as well.

You will find it easier than ever before to not only disciple new/young believers, but also strengthen your church's value of disciple-making. With this coaching call, training videos, and assessment, you will have all the tools you need to boost the number of disciples, while also implementing the best discipleship strategies.

Give the Discipleship Coach program a try right away; we guarantee it will revolutionize your approach toward discipleship!


Darrell Stetler II is the founder of NewStart Discipleship, which creates discipleship tools to enable any size church to intentionally disciple brand new believers. Darrell is pastor of a Methodist Church in Oklahoma City, a dad of 7 kids, and a creator of the Gospel Trunk or Treat Outreach. He can be tempted with a cold glass of milk and a stack of Oreos.


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