How can we grow as disciples of Jesus?

Imagine you’re a farmer who decides to plant some seeds. You dig a hole and put them in the ground. You may even fertilize and water the plant to help create the best possible conditions for growth. But the growth isn’t just dependent on your actions. It’s also dependent on rain, sunlight, soil, and other factors that are outside of your control.

Your efforts can foster a good growing environment, but they’re not what grows the plant.

Following Jesus is a lot like cultivating plants.

As a follower of Jesus, you’ll spend your whole life on earth learning to live like Jesus and follow his teachings. Once the seed of faith is planted in your life, there are many opportunities to help you grow and develop as a disciple.

Like with plants, we don’t control our spiritual growth—that’s in God’s hands. But you can create a good growing environment by choosing to pursue different spiritual and serving opportunities. 

At Cottage Grove, these opportunities take the form of the Discipleship Pathway.

How to Use the Discipleship Pathway

The goal of the Discipleship Pathway isn’t to use every opportunity as part of a checklist to become a better Christian. Instead, each stage of growth can be used to identify specific ways you can connect more deeply with God, both personally and as a part of Cottage Grove.

Just as a plant needs water and fertilizer to grow, certain opportunities can strengthen and grow us along the way. We call these opportunities greenhouses—environments where we can stay connected with Jesus both internally and externally.

The Discipleship Pathway

The Discipleship Pathway is broken into four stages. Don’t worry if you’ve done different activities in multiple stages—the goal is to help you generally identify where you’re at in your discipleship journey so you can choose the next best step.

The Seed stage represents those who are invited to place their faith in Jesus, have salvation through his death and resurrection, and begin a new life with God and alongside His people. 


Get baptized:
     Email Us
Attend Sunday services
Join the mentoring program
Join a Connection Group

As one grows into the Sprout stage, they may use their gifts to serve those both inside and outside the church, all while growing in personal spiritual disciplines that open them up to work the Holy Spirit may do in their life.


Grow in spiritual practices 
Serve at Cottage Grove
Serve outside the church 
• Become a member 

As one matures into the Sapling stage, they continue to establish healthy spiritual rhythms and share spiritual truths with those around them. In this phase, they may also learn to better lead others to God and develop skills that may help them become a stronger leader in the church.


• Establish healthy rhythms
• Influence others around you
• Take the Leadership Pathway

As a tried-and-tested disciple, a mature believer in the Shade Tree stage can humbly care for, teach, and lead others, all while remembering that God is the ultimate director of all ministry.


• Step into a servant leadership role
• Take sabbatical rest