In December 2015, my church called a discipleship pastor to join our staff. Three months later, Craig reached out to me and invited me to lunch. I knew Craig, having met him and his wife a few times, but I didn’t really know much about Craig, other than that he had lived in Hawaii for much of his childhood. I took Craig up on the lunch invite, primarily because I thought, “How cool is it that this new staff member cares enough about me to want to take me to lunch?”
The topic of our discussion revolved around a term I’d heard thrown around a few times over the past couple of years—discipleship groups (or D-Groups, for the microwave generation). They’re a growing trend in the church today, one that involves discipleship in a more intimate setting. So what are they? And why should you consider starting them at your church?
My group meets once per week for an hour or so over the course of a twelve-month period. Each week we discuss a passage of Scripture we’ve chosen to focus on reading the week leading up to the group time. We respond on what we call a H.E.A.R. worksheet. We also use the F260 reading plan found in YouVersion. F260 is short for Foundations260, a Replicate Ministries resource that focuses on the 260 most important passages of Scripture in the Bible. Another resource worth exploring is the Daily Discipleship Guide from Lifeway. It’s a brand-new resource that I have found to be extremely thorough and engaging. It keeps you in the Word daily and challenges your spiritual development. We also make it a priority to spend a good amount of time fervently praying together as a group.
So why should you consider starting discipleship groups at your church? Here are two reasons.
1. Discipleship groups are relational.
We all desire and need community. It’s how we grow more mature as believers. D-Groups are small, no more than four or five individuals. Men with men. Women with women. The men in my D-Group are men I knew prior to starting the group, but my relationship with them was surface level. Being together in community has strengthened our relationship. After eleven months of meeting with these men once a week, they’re my three closest friends. Discipleship is relational.
Not only has my relationship with these men strengthened, but my relationship with Christ has become much stronger as well. I’m in the Word every day, and I’m held accountable by three men who are in the Word daily as well. I have felt the Spirit move in me over the last eleven months more than I have in my whole life.
2. Discipleship groups are replicable.
Next month, my current D-Group will meet for the last time. I won’t stop having a weekly D-Group though. I’ll start a new one. I’ll invite three new men to join the group I lead for the next year. I’ll start reading the F260 plan again, but it’s likely the three guys in my group will be going through it for the first time. I hope the Spirit will work through me to help them become more mature in their faith so in another year they can start their own D-Groups. After all, Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:19, “Go into all the world…” We must obey that command to make disciples of all nations.
Discipleship groups are a great place to see your faith in Him become more mature. They’re a great place for us to become disciple-makers, and they’re a great place for us to be held accountable by other godly men as we walk closer with Christ. Please join me in prayer as I consider who the Lord is leading me talk to as I form my next D-Group.
Matt Morris is a Brand Manager at Lifeway Christian Resources in Nashville, Tennessee. He has served in ministry for over 11 years. Matt is married to Carmen and they have twins, Hudson and Harper. Matt and his family are members of First Baptist Church Mount Juliet, where he serves as a deacon.