School of Discipleship

The School of Discipleship began in September 2013 as way to offer anyone who desires the opportunity to grow as a spiritual leader in Christ's church.  

A 3-Year Non Traditional Theological Education

Leadership in Jesus’ church is an intense and serious call. One of the greatest gifts that God has given to His church today is volunteer leaders. Many leaders feel unprepared and ill-equipped to lead.

The School of Discipleship is a three-year experiential journey designed to help people fall deeper in love with Jesus, the people that Jesus created, and His mission of making more disciples. Participants meet twice a month from September-May to discuss a book that they read the prior two weeks. Each session includes a meal, prayer, and conversation. Meetings generally take place the first and third Thursdays of the month at 5:30 AM.

The Woodbury Community Church School of Discipleship, is church-based theological education. We have seen students in the School of Discipleship become elders, Compassion Ministry leaders, Adult Bible Fellowship Teachers, Small Group Leaders, Youth Ministry Volunteers, Children's Ministry Volunteers, and a few have even felt God's call to vocational ministry and have begun taking seminary coursework.

A Curriculum Focused on the Heart of Jesus

Developing Leaders Who Passionately Love God

When asked what is the greatest commandment, Jesus answered,

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 

Matt. 22:37b-39

At the heart of everything we do is an unwavering desire to be people who love God. Too often, Christian academia trains church leaders who know all about God, but don’t know how to love God.

Preparing to be a church leader is primarily about the shaping of the soul. The School of Discipleship is an intentionally relational endeavor. This three-year journey is taken with a band of Spirit-filled peers and mentors who can instruct, encourage and correct each other. Prayer, Scripture, reading, confession and conversation form the framework for our times together. We seek to hear from and respond to God together.

As such, every student is required to find a spiritual mentor within the first three months of enrolling the school. 

A potential church leader must be a person of the highest Christian character if he or she is to serve as an under-shepherd of Jesus. The eternal significance of Jesus’ church and its mission demand no less.

We want leaders to learn to love like Jesus

Spiritual leadership in God’s church is not an occupation, but a vocation that demands the full engagement of the leader’s soul. It is a call to, like Jesus before us, give our lives for others. Without such selfless, sacrificial love for the sheep, a person is unqualified to serve as a shepherd leader. The WCC School of Discipleship strongly emphasizes the development of an affectionate love for people through intentional discipleship relationships and cross-cultural ministry.

Serving a Gospel-centered, missional church is a difficult, frustrating, exhausting, and spiritual work that requires humility, diligence, creativity and a certain level of stubborn resiliency. Since there is no substitute for getting your hands dirty in the trenches, our school provides the opportunity for a potential leader to experience the grass roots nature of pastoral ministry in the context of a local church. Students are encouraged to be actively involved in ministry, and given opportunities to develop pastoral skills including  discipleship, cross-cultural ministry, teaching and preaching.

The Coursework

To lead Jesus’ church well necessitates having a mature grasp of Jesus’ truth. If a person is going to proclaim, admonish, and teach the flock well, he or she must be sound theologically.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” 

– Matthew 18:19-20

We believe that leaders are readers. Students in the School of Discipleship will build a wonderful library, filled with practical books that will benefit them for years to come. These books range from Christian classics that have helped believers in their walk with Christ for centuries, to newly published books that are impacting how the church does ministry today. Students in the School of Discipleship will read an average of two books per month. A full bibliography is available below.

Here at WCC, we believe that the youth are not the church of tomorrow, but of today. As such, the school is open to students high school age on up, who desire to grow in their walk with Christ, and lead in His church.

Make Disciples

Year 1

What good is a theological education if you aren’t actively involved in making disciples in your own backyard? In year one of the curriculum, you will be challenged to find a spiritual mentor who will mentor you, in the MSP region. You will also seek out one person with whom you can develop a Gospel-Centered relationship who is of an ethnicity that is different than your own. After all, God has brought the world to our doorsteps and some day He is going to ask what we did about it.  

Year 2

You will be taking a mission trip to a third-world country, where you will experience first-hand the beauty of God’s church, in a world that looks very different than your own. This trip will increase your awareness of missions and expand your vision for discipleship on a global level. 

Year 3

The School of Discipleship concludes with a two-week trip to Israel, where you will experience the land of the Bible. Nothing makes the stories of the Bible come alive like being where it happened. In Israel, you will have opportunity to be involved in ministry.

Fees and Expectations

The Woodbury Community Church School of Discipleship is a ministry of Woodbury Community Church. As such, there are no fees to be a student. You are responsible to purchase or borrow your own books, and to pay for or raise funds for mission trips. Many of the books are available from the church library, your local library, or can be shared via the Kindle App. You may apply for the school by downloading this form and e-maling or bringing it into the church office


Students are expected to read the majority of the assigned book before group discussion.

Each student is expected to find a spiritual mentor within the first three months of enrollment in the school.

The School of Discipleship meets on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month (September-May) from 5:30-7:00 AM at WCC.

Have more questions? Check out our FAQ's below.

2015-2016 School Year Calendar

Download a copy of the 2015-2016 reading assignments and calendar here.

If you would like more information on the Woodbury Community Church School of Discipleship, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Required Reading


  • The ESV Study Bible published by Crossway Books (Used Every Time We Meet)
  • Spiritual Leadership, by J. Oswald Sanders
  • Loving God, by Chuck Colson
  • The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns
  • Just Walk Across The Room, by Bill Hybels
  • Becoming a Contagious Christian, by Bill Hybels
  • Confessions by St. Augustine
  • One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
  • The Purpose Driven Church, by Rick Warren
  • Leadership That Works by Leith Anderson
  • Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala
  • Where Is God When It Hurts?, by Philip Yancey
  • Spirituality for the Rest of Us: A Down To Earth Guide to Knowing God, by Larry Osborne
  • The Search For Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God's Eyes, by Robert McGee
  • The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict, by Ken Sande
  • Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis
  • Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary, by J. D. Greear
  • Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus, by Kyle Idleman
  • Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem (Selected Chapters will be studied)
  • Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer


  • Turning Points, by Mark Noll
  • Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation, by Ruth Haley Barton
  • The Pursuit of Holiness, by Jerry Bridges
  • You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church . . . And Rethinking Faith, by David Kinnaman
  • Luke and Acts from The ESV Study Bible
  • When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . And Yourself by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert
  • God’s At War: Defeating the Idols that Battle for Your Heart by Kyle Idleman
  • His Needs, Her Needs, by Willard Harley
  • Choosing to Cheat, by Andy Stanley
  • Romans from The ESV Study Bible
  • The Pursuit of God, by A.W. Tozer
  • The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath, by Mark Buchanan
  • Prayer by Philip Yancey
  • Heaven, by Randy Alcorn
  • Jesus Among the Other Gods, by Ravi Zacharias
  • 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, by Jen Hatmaker
  • John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Revelation from The ESV Study Bible
  • A Book To Be Determined by Students in the School of Discipleship


  • The Cost of Discipleship, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • Crazy Love, by Francis Chan
  • David, by Chuck Swindoll
  • Sticky Church, by Larry Osborne
  • Doctrines That Divide, by Erwin Lutzer
  • Jesus: An Intimate Portrait of the Man, His Land, and His People, by Leith Anderson
  • How Christianity Changed the World, by Alvin Schmidt
  • E.M. Bounds on Prayer, by E.M. Bounds
  • The Prodigal God, by Tim Keller
  • 11: Indispensible Relationships You Can’t Be Without, by Leonard Sweet
  • Conspiracy of Kindness, by Steve Sjogren
  • Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist, by John Piper
  • Leading on Empty, by Wayne Cordeiro
  • The Church of Irresistible Influence, by Robert Lewis
  • A Book To Be Determined by Students in the School of Discipleship
  • The Treasure Principle, by Randy Alcorn
  • Making Room for Life, by Randy Frazee
  • A Book To Be Determined by Students in the School of Discipleship


Woodbury Community Church School of Discipleship FAQ’s

What is the School of Discipleship? A 3-year experiential learning environment in which you will focus on the theology, practical Christian living, church leadership,  missions, spiritual disciplines, and more.


When does the School of Discipleship meet? Typically the first and third

Thursdays of the month at 5:30 AM from September-May.

Can I earn a degree from the School of Discipleship? Not at this time.

How much does the School of Discipleship cost? There is no fee to be a student in  the school of discipleship. You only costs are the cost of your books and the costs of mission trips. 

Who are the instructors in the School of Discipleship? Romans 1:11-12 talks

about being mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. So, in a sense, each student will also be a teacher. The primary instructor will be Pastor Brian Schulenburg. 

What are the requirements of the School of Discipleship? Read the books (or

assigned portions of the book), come prepared to discuss, find a personal mentor within the first three months of the program, identify a people group here in the Twin Cities that is of a different ethnicity than you that you will actively pursue relationships with the purpose of spiritual transformation with, participate in mission trip experience to Haiti (exception made for health reasons) and to Israel. 

Why are we reading the books that have been chosen? These are books that have been particularly helpful in Pastor Brian’s spiritual development. The list is subject to change. Pastor Brian will be gathering a list of suggested books from the students in the School of Discipleship for consideration in the program. 

Do I have to wait until the start of a new school year to join the School of Discipleship? No. The curriculum of the School of Discipleship is varied enough that a person can join at anytime. To complete the program, a student must continue in the coursework for three years. 

Do I have to have a hard copy of the book, or can it be purchased electronically?  It is fine to use the e-book version of any of the books we have chosen. E-books are typically less expensive, and many can be shared on up to four accounts. 

Do I have to be somebody considering vocational ministry to be in the School of Discipleship? Absolutely not. This school is for anyone who desires to grow in their walk with Jesus Christ. It is open to anyone high school age on up. We have students as young as high school freshmen and well into their retirement years who are students in the School of Discipleship, which makes the experience all the more beautiful. 

Where can I find out more? Call Pastor Brian Schulenburg at (651) 739-1427(651) 739-1427 or email him with your questions by clicking here