A year ago, a friend of mine asked me to be in a D-Group. He had never started a D-Group before. He didn’t even know it was called a D-Group. But, he did it. He wanted to study the Bible and walk in accountability with two other men and he set the right expectations toward that end. A year later, all three of us have been hugely impacted by our time together and we owe a lot to how the group was launched.
Here are four expectations that were established up front that helped discipleship actually happen in our group.
1. A D-Group should confess consistently.
My friend made it clear he didn’t want to gather and pretend to shepherd one another. He didn’t want to talk around sin in hopes of feeling better for having been together. He asked us to update each other on how we were falling short of holiness and joy in Jesus, respond with grace, and push toward repentance every week.
He was willing to go below the “line of shame” and work to apply scripture to his own struggles. Now, every week, we all know we have the attention of friends who love us and are ready to help us struggle closer to the abundant life Christ wants for us.
He set the expectation of confession up front and we have benefitted from it ever since.
2. A D-Group should study the Bible.
This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how easy it can be to get together for discipleship and never open the Bible. My friend who started our D-Group expressed, before our first meeting, that we would read scripture together. The Bible teaches us who we are in Christ and how we live in Him, so trying to “do life together” without it makes no sense. We’ve tried reading commentary together. Or we’ve selected passages each week. If you want something more consistent, you might consider the Foundations reading plan from Robby Gallaty. However you approach it, establish the expectation that the Bible will speak the loudest in your group.
3. A D-Group should end on time.
The tendency is for small groups of close friends to ignore the clock during meaningful conversations. That will be a temptation in a D-Group. That is especially true as relationships deepen and discipling each other gets easier. However, as a rule, the clock should decide when the meeting is over. That might sound unspiritual, but a meeting without a consistent end time can’t be a consistent part of your life. For the sake of next week’s needs, this week’s conversation has to end on time.
When launching a new D-Group, ensure your partners that you’ll start and end on time. Then prove it.
4. A D-Group shouldn’t cancel.
I imagine many D-Groups die the death of a few missed meetings. With only three of four people in a group, it can be easy to cancel for travel, sickness, oversleeping, and any number of reasons.
Our group committed to getting together every week if at all possible. Sometimes that means only two of us make it, but two is all it takes. We’ve also “met” over the phone when we’re out of town. The point is to fight for consistency together so you can keep fighting for joy together.