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Online · School of Divinity · Christian Leadership & Church Ministries

Discipleship Ministries

  • CG
  • Section 8WK
  • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020
  • Modified 02/04/2020

Course Description

This course will examine the biblical, general and specific steps to enable a person first to be a disciple, then to discover systems, biblical principles, and methods that create a disciple making context. The systems will cover both the macro level and the micro level. Once this has been discovered and discussed the student will select a disciple making system and create a micro-level disciple making plan for a local church.





DSMN 500 is a portal course serving as an introduction to discipleship ministries. The purpose of the course is to equip the student with a comprehensive description of what is discipleship from a biblical and Christ-centered perspective. This course will also explore the structure of the discipline as well as address the essential activities of disciple making. Whether for individual or church ministries, these principles form the underlying and foundational components necessary for effective ministry within the local church context.


Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Evaluate the teachings of Jesus regarding what it meant to be a disciple and how to make disciples.
  2. Analyze the foundational directions of being and making disciples of Jesus.
  3. Examine the approach of Jesus in the disciple making process.
  4. Explain the role of the local church in the disciple making process.
  5. Evaluate the different small group philosophies related to making disciples.
  6. Review the four different church structures pertaining to making disciples.
  7. Create a detailed discipleship project.

Course Resources

Required Resources

The resources below are provided in the course at no cost to the student.

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Volume 4. Minneapolis: First Fortress Press, 2003.

Earley, Dave, and Rod Dempsey. Disciple Making Is…: How to Live the Great Commission with Passion and Confidence. Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2013.

Earley, Dave, and Rod Dempsey. Spiritual Formation Is… Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2018.

Putman, Jim, Bobby Harrington, and Robert E. Coleman. DiscipleShift: Five Steps That Help Your Church to Make Disciples Who Make Disciples. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013.

Disclaimer: The above resources provide information consistent with the latest research regarding the subject area. Liberty University does not necessarily endorse specific personal, religious, philosophical, or political positions found in these resources.

Additional Materials for Learning

  1. Computer with basic audio/video output equipment
  2. Internet access (broadband recommended)
  3. Blackboard recommended browsers
  4. Microsoft Word and PowerPoint (Microsoft Office is available at a special discount to Liberty University students.)
  5. School of Divinity Writing Guide:
  6. Adobe Reader

Course Assignments

Textbook readings and lecture notes/presentations.

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (2)

Discussion Boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will participate in 2 Discussion Board Forums that will consist of a thread and 2 replies in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be 300–500 words and must cite 2 scholarly sources in current Turabian format to support the content in the thread. Each reply must be 150–200 words.

Written Assignments (4)

The Written Assignments will address 4 critical areas relating to disciples, discipleship, and the formation of a healthy church body through discipleship ministries. Each assignment must be at least 5 pages and must utilize at least 5 scholarly sources. Each paper must be in current Turabian format.

Disciple Making Plan

The student will create a comprehensive discipleship ministry plan as a personal strategy to develop disciples for Christ. Based on the written assignments completed for this course, the student will thoroughly discuss 5 major areas of discipleship and disciple making in ministry. The student will develop a coordinated plan that covers the 5 V’s of ministry (Vision, Values, Views, Vehicles, and Verifiers) and that can be implemented in a local church or other ministry organization context.

Course Reflection

The student will write a 1,000–1,200-word reflection essay in current Turabian format. The essay will answer the question “How has this course shaped your thinking in the following areas related to the ministry of discipleship: 1) stages of discipleship, 2) discipleship in the local church, and 3) healthy church characteristics?”


Course Grading

Course Requirements Checklist


Discussion Board Forums (2 at 150 pts)


Written Assignments (4 at 100 pts ea)


Disciple Making Plan


Course Reflection Assignment





Late Assignment Policy

Course Assignments, including discussion boards, exams, and other graded assignments, should be submitted on time.

If the student is unable to complete an assignment on time, then he or she must contact the instructor immediately by email.

Assignments that are submitted after the due date without prior approval from the instructor will receive the following deductions:

  1. Late assignments submitted within one week after the due date will receive up to a 10% deduction.
  2. Assignments submitted more than one week and less than 2 weeks late will receive up to a 20% deduction.
  3. Assignments submitted two weeks late or after the final date of the course will not be accepted outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.
  4. Group projects, including group discussion board threads and/or replies, and assignments will not be accepted after the due date outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.

Disability Assistance

Students with a disability and those with medical conditions associated with pregnancy may contact Liberty University’s Online Office of Disability Accommodation Support (ODAS) at [email protected] for accommodations.  Such accommodations require appropriate documentation of your condition.   For more information about ODAS and the accommodations process, including how to request an accommodation, please visit Requests for accommodations not related to disabilities or pregnancy must be directed to the Registrar’s Office, which generally handles medical needs support.

If you have a complaint related to disability discrimination or an accommodation that was not provided, you may contact ODAS or the Office of Equity and Compliance by phone at (434) 592-4999 or by email at [email protected].  Click to see a full copy of Liberty’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy or the Student Disability Grievance Policy and Procedures.

Course Attendance

In an effort to comply with U.S. Department of Education policies, attendance is measured by physical class attendance or any submission of a required assignment within the enrollment dates of the course (such as examinations, written papers or projects, any discussion board posts, etc.) or initiating any communication with one’s professor regarding an academic subject. More information regarding the attendance policy can be found in the Academic Course Catalogs. Regular attendance in online courses is expected throughout the length of the term. Students who do not attend within the first week of a sub-term by submitting a required academic assignment (such as the Course Requirements Checklist, an examination, written paper or project, discussion board post, or other academic activity) will be dropped from the course. Students who wish to re-engage in the course are encouraged to contact Academic Advising to discuss their enrollment options. Students who begin an online course, but at some point in the semester cease attending, and do not provide official notification to withdraw, will be assigned a grade of “FN” (Failure for Non-Attendance). Students wishing to withdraw from courses after the official start date should familiarize themselves with the withdrawal policy.

Grading Scale

A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- F
940-1010 920-939 900-919 860-899 840-859 820-839 780-819 760-779 740-759 700-739 680-699 679 and below

For courses with a Pass/NP final grade, please refer to the Course Grading section of this syllabus for the assignment requirements and/or point value required to earn a Passing final grade.

Add/Drop Policy

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory.

Honor Code

Liberty University comprises a network of students, Alumni, faculty, staff and supporters that together form a Christian community based upon the truth of the Bible. This truth defines our foundational principles, from our Doctrinal Statement to the Code of Honor. These principles irrevocably align Liberty University’s operational procedures with the long tradition of university culture, which remains distinctively Christian, designed to preserve and advance truth. Our desire is to create a safe, comfortable environment within our community of learning, and we extend our academic and spiritual resources to all of our students with the goal of fostering academic maturity, spiritual growth and character development.

Communities are predicated on shared values and goals. The Code of Honor, an expression of the values from which our Doctrinal Statement was born, defines the fundamental principles by which our community exists. At the core of this code lie two essential concepts: a belief in the significance of all individuals, and a reliance on the existence of objective truth.

While we acknowledge that some may disagree with various elements of the Code of Honor, we maintain the expectation that our students will commit to respect and uphold the Code while enrolled at Liberty University.

Adherence to the principles and concepts established within facilitates the success of our students and strengthens the Liberty community.

The Code of Honor can be viewed in its entirety at


DSMN 500

Textbooks: Bonhoeffer, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Volume 4 (2003).

Earley & Dempsey, Disciple Making Is… (2013).

Earley & Dempsey, Spiritual Formation Is… (2018).

Putman et al., DiscipleShift (2013).



Reading & Study




Earley & Dempsey (2013): ch. 2

Putman et al.: ch. 2

2 presentations

2 lecture notes

1 website

Course Requirements Checklist

Class Introductions

DB Forum 1





Earley & Dempsey (2018):

chs. 1, 4, 6, 9, 10, 12

1 presentation

2 lecture notes

WA 1 – Spiritual Formation and Discipleship



Bonhoeffer: ch. 2

Earley & Dempsey (2013): chs. 6–11

Putman et al.: chs. 3–4

1 presentation


WA 2 – Spheres and Stages of Discipleship




Earley & Dempsey (2013):

chs. 4, 19, 24–29

1 presentation

2 lecture notes

WA 3 – Disciple-Making in a Healthy Church




Earley & Dempsey (2018): chs. 18–22

1 presentation

4 lecture notes

DB Forum 2



Earley & Dempsey (2013): chs. 20–23

Putman et al.: chs. 5–6

1 presentation

3 lecture notes

WA 4 – The Connection between Discipleship and Leadership




Earley & Dempsey (2013): chs. 29–30

Earley & Dempsey (2018): Conclusion

Putman et al.: chs. 11–12

1 presentation

1 lecture note

Disciple-Making Plan



Bonhoeffer: chs. 1, 2 (review), 3–5

1 presentation

3 lecture notes

Course Reflection




DB = Discussion Board                          

WA = Written Assignment

NOTE:    Each course module/week begins on Monday morning at 12:00 a.m. (ET) and ends on Sunday night at 11:59 p.m. (ET). The final module/week ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday.