This Post is Part of a 9 Essentials of a Discipleship Group Series
During my time as a personal trainer, there was a process I went through with each client before I started doing any kind of exercise. We would sit down for a conversation to discuss three things: their goals as a client, the structure of our training sessions and my goals as a trainer. First, I needed to know exactly what each person hoped to get out of their time with me so that I could design a program that met their needs. If I exercised with a client for three months and then asked them what their health goals were, they would have wasted many hours and hundreds of dollars on me.
A Discipleship Group needs to have a similar conversation on the front end. Discipleship doesn’t happen by accident. Discipleship is a deliberate, purposeful process to help someone grow in Christlikeness.
First, make time.
It is essential that the meeting time for your group each week has an intentionally thought out structure. Start with a little bit of relational time to catch up on each other’s weeks. Then the bulk of the time will be spent on the Word of God by reciting memory verses and then talking about what each person journaled throughout the past week (we’ll talk more about journaling in the near future). Follow that with time spent in prayer as a group before you go your separate ways.
Obviously, you can arrange those components in a different order that best fits your group, but be diligent to stick to your structure or you might lose track of time and realize you didn’t actually spend much time becoming more like Jesus.
Second, teach independence.
The second part of my initial conversation with personal training clients involved me explaining to them that I hoped to work myself out of a job. This was always met with some confused expressions. When I started my time with a client we both knew we would not be training together for the rest of both of our lives. Because we had limited time together I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just telling people what exercise to do. I wanted to explain to them why I was choosing certain exercises and eventually how to design a workout program for themselves. Eventually, they were equipped with the skills they needed to exercise on their own and they didn’t need me anymore!
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Lastly, equip disciples!
Another aspect of being intentional in Discipleship Groups is equipping the people in our groups with specific skills and abilities. If you’re the leader, you don’t want your group to be dependent on you for their spiritual growth, right? Then we’ve got to equip them! In 2 Timothy 2:2 Paul tells Timothy, “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (CSB). That is exactly the model we want to see in our Discipleship Groups. We want to take the things we were taught when someone else discipled us and pass those things on to the next person.
So, what abilities do we need to be equipped with as Christians? The foundational disciplines we want the members of our groups to be equipped with are knowing how to study Scripture for themselves, how to pray and how to share the Gospel. Then you will likely have members of your group that want to focus on things like parenting well, being a better spouse, living out their faith in a tough work environment, etc.
Intentionality and equipping are two essentials that a D-Group leader and the group members need to be committed to from the start. When you are intentional about equipping the men and women in your group you can feel confident that they will be ready to replicate the process of disciple making.
Originally posted on Replicate’s blog here. Used by permission.