Have You Discovered Our “Core Principles” of Discipleship as a Journey of Grace?

Have You Discovered Our “Core Principles” of Discipleship as a Journey of Grace?

By Daryll Stanton, NDI Global Resourcing Coordinator | 10 May 2023

NDI Priorities

Recently the Church of the Nazarene refocused its vision for making disciples with the launch of Nazarene Discipleship as a Journey of Grace. Discipleship has always been an important part of the Church of the Nazarene. However, over the years, the discipleship efforts of the Church of the Nazarene have varied. In our earliest years, discipleship was included in a General Assembly Committee on Sunday Schools. Later, discipleship was championed in the Department of Church Schools, organized in 1928. This took a new name in 1977 as the Division of Christian Life and was divided into three departments: Adult Ministries, Youth Ministries, and Children Ministries. In 1981, the name was expanded to Christian Life and Sunday School and known by the abbreviation CLSS. The name was shortened in 1990 to Sunday School Ministries and known by the abbreviation SSM.

Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries International (SDMI)

In 2008, the name expanded to Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries International and was known by the abbreviation SDMI. Its aim was to move beyond “one size fits all” classes to an aggressive 24/7 preparation of children, youth, and adults to follow Jesus as His personal disciples. The desire was to equip all believers to pursue a Christlike way of life in the fulfillment of the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.

Nazarene Discipleship International (NDI)

Last year, to better align SDMI with the new denominational focus on Nazarene Discipleship as a Journey of Grace, the name was changed to Nazarene Discipleship International, abbreviated as NDI. Nazarene Discipleship International’s mission is to carry out the Great Commission to children, youth, and adults in preparation for a lifelong journey of being and making Christlike disciples in the nations. This path of disciple making, and the church’s co-mission with Jesus Christ, is to reach the lost, establish new believers in their faith, and walk with them into the joyous experience with God called entire sanctification. The vision is evangelism with holiness in mind AND holiness with evangelism in mind! This is Nazarene discipleship!

Nazarene discipleship leaders from all six global regions asked the question: “What are the principles, practices, and behaviors of Nazarenes and Nazarene churches who make disciples along a journey of grace?” In other words, what activities should Nazarenes be doing on a daily basis if we hope to accomplish the mission of making Christlike disciples in the nations? Through recommendations of a strategy team of 30 global discipleship leaders, Nazarene Discipleship International is now encouraging the church to double-down on five discipleship-centered activities that are NDI’s Core Principles.

            Fervent Prayer

            Compassionate Outreach

            Comprehensive Biblical Learning

            Intentional Mentoring and Equipping

            Authentic Relationships.


These Core Principles are an important part of the new NDI Bylaws. Prayer is an essential part of discipleship. In fact, prayer is the bedrock upon which all other ministry efforts are built. As we pray, God inspires us to be actively engaged in the world. Through prayer, we participate in the Holy Spirit’s transforming power, both for ourselves and for our neighbor.


God is continually reaching out to prepare people’s hearts to receive salvation. Compassionate outreach reveals God’s love for humanity. It is a disciple’s care for non-believers, both local and global, that places a face and hand to God’s grace and love.


Learning the scriptures, through individual and group study, helps disciples to become more like Christ. When we study the Word of God, which is active and living, we uncover who God is, how God loves, and how we are to love others.


Mentoring and equipping is a discipleship process that introduces new believers to Jesus and reveals how to follow Him personally and fully. Also, mentoring and equipping others on the journey of discipleship is essential to Christian growth and maturity.


The core of our faith and life is to love God and love others. Everyone committed to the great commission should be engaged in relationships that honor God and edify the Body of Christ. Loving relationships help us walk the path of holiness as we receive both encouragement and loving correction.


We are confident that as these core principles of NDI are promoted and modeled in each region, field, district, and local church, we will develop Christlike disciples of every age and in every culture. As we live out these principles in the life and ministries of the local church and in the practices and behaviors of every Nazarene, we will accomplish the mission of making Christlike disciples in the nations.


We recognize that discipleship will look different as culture shapes our methodologies, but our global mission, purpose, and core principles remain the same. We will look more closely at these in the upcoming editions of our Journey e-newsletter. Would you please share with us ways God is blessing your discipleship efforts? You can connect with me at dstanton@nazarene.org