The Discipleship Cycle Framework

Discipleship CycleCan you imagine a nursing program with only classroom instruction and zero clinical experience?

Yet, in leading NCF meetings, we are tempted to give lots of input but omit sharing concrete applications. Whether we are leading Bible studies or scheduling speakers, we forget James’ admonition: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22, NIV).

The Discipleship Cycle framework is a simple tool to help your NCF chapter consistently apply God’s Word [download PDF].

  • The cycle begins with “Hear the Word.” This can take the form of a Bible study (see NCF Bible studies), a presentation, or a special speaker. At the meeting, NCF participants hear and learn about God’s truth as revealed through Scripture.
  • “Hear the Word” leads to “Respond Actively.” Following James’ admonition, we must invite NCF participants to respond to what they have heard. In other words, a strong NCF chapter meeting must include an invitation to a concrete and specific application.
  • “Respond Actively” leads to “Debrief and Interpret.” The learning comes in the debrief. At the next NCF meeting, begin by asking participants what they learned as they applied God’s Word to their lives since your last meeting.
  • Then repeat the cycle with another opportunity to “Hear the Word” through Bible study, presentation, or speaker.

Try it 0ut! Plan your next NCF meeting using the Discipleship Cycle framework:

  • Hear the Word: Write down what key truths or takeaways you hope participants will hear through the Bible study, presentation, or speaker.
  • Respond Actively: Write down a concrete and specific application based on those truths or takeaways. If you are unsure, ask yourself this question and write down the answer: “How should we live our lives differently next week based on what we have heard?”
  • Debrief and Interpret: Let participants know that at the next meeting you will ask them to report on how they applied the study and what they learned. Then, evaluate the experience the next meeting with these questions: “How did it go? What did you learn about God? What did you learn about yourself?”

Want some feedback? Send your Discipleship Cycle plan to

For further reading, see “The Discipleship Cycle: How to Develop World-Changers by Making Disciples of Jesus.”