The Journey curriculum is a powerful discipleship tool, and we’ve seen God use it to transform countless lives around the world.
In this video testimony, Steve Sage, the Pastor of Discipleship at Grace Redeemer Church in New Jersey, shares some thoughts and stories about how the Journey curriculum has benefited their church and how it has impacted their members.
We love the way Steve recognizes that, “it’s not curriculum on life, it’s life on life. The curriculum, however, gives us a thoughtful scope and sequence of content from the word of God with which we can interact.”
Watch the video now, or you can read the transcript below:
Benefits of the Journey Curriculum
My name is Steve Sage. I’m the Pastor of Discipleship at Grace Redeemer Church in New Jersey, just outside of New York City. And we have been doing Life-on-Life for five years.
One of the things I personally appreciate the most out of Life-on-Life ministry is it has the philosophy of ministry, a philosophy of discipleship that undergirds the content. And so we like to say it’s not curriculum on life, it’s life on life, but the curriculum gives us a thoughtful scope and sequence of content from the word of God to interact with. The TEAMS approach ensures that we’re not just talking about biblical truth, but we’re really seeking to equip ourselves to live it out and ensure that we’re living out by holding one another accountable.
And so in many respects, there’s more material that a person will read through in their preparation for the group meetings. We won’t cover all of that in the group meetings. There’s not time.
But everyone having done the preparation, we can engage them on the significance of that material and go deeper and address their heart with those areas, and so the curriculum is a launching point for a discussion that really gets at, what is God saying to you? What are you hearing? How do you need to respond to what the Holy Spirit is doing in your life in light of God’s word?
Journey Curriculum: The Content
One of the key features of the Journey curriculum is that it’s built on several units each year on a three-year cycle, so that over the course of three years, you are exploring important Gospel content, doctrine of God, practical living things like marriage and family, as well as worldview. And so over time, it exposes you to a full range of things that you would hope would be in place as disciples are growing in their faith.
One of the benefits of the Journey app that we’ve really appreciated is it allows us to lock in what we want some of that core content to be, but also gives us some flexibility as a church, as a leadership, to think through how might we want to contextualize some of this content for our own people in our own time and place.
We can either develop our own curriculum that would slot in, or we can customize our discipleship curriculum from an increasing library of what’s being made available through Life-on-Life ministries for other modules that would be directly relevant for our people.
The Journey Curriculum: How it is Impacting Lives
I’ve had a range of people involved in my own group, the guys that I’m investing into discipling. I’ve had new Christians, I’ve had elders in our church. One of the things that has been fun to see is how the content that’s available for all of them, no matter where they’re at in their journey, is able to make an impact on their lives.
This is not always because it’s new information, particularly for those that are more mature in their faith, but the whole approach to Life-on-Life is to engage the heart.
And so whether someone’s a new believer or an elder in the church, the curriculum allows us to press in not just on what they know, but on how they relate to that, how it fleshes itself out in their daily life.
It’s been fun to see a whole range of people, on their various respective spiritual journeys, engage with the material in a way that identifies the obstacles to living it out their own heart, idols that are keeping them from actually living it, and to begin to address that through the Gospel in a way that encourages them to respond to God’s truth differently.
It’s also been fun to see growth along the whole continuum of spiritual maturity using the same material, because of the approach that’s used to engage the heart.
The Difference between a Bible Study and Life-on-Life Discipleship
I have no desire to play church. I really want to see the Gospel transform people’s lives. So often, and I’ve experienced this in pastoral ministry for a few decades now, people can get involved in a small group Bible study, show up, talk about what’s going on in their lives, pray for one another, but you don’t see a lot of traction for change in their lives.
One of the things that most appeals to me about the Life-on-Life philosophy of ministry is that it really seeks to press gospel transformation down into people’s lives, but not just for themselves, right? It’s intended to grow them as a maturing follower of Jesus, but also in so doing, equip them to be able to disciple others who disciple others while they’re living missionally, seeking to reach the lost.
And so, my biggest desire would be to see people growing in their own faith and equipped to reach people with the Gospel. We can disciple them from the beginning with a vision for the Kingdom of God that not only transforms their own life, but enables and equips and inspires them to reach out and train more disciples in a similar way.