My grandmother used to make a seriously delicious barbecue sauce. It has been used in many meals for years and years in the Young household. Everyone in the family loves that sauce and Praise the Lord my dad made sure he got the recipe from her before she passed away a few years ago. If he hadn’t done that we would never figure out the perfect combination of ingredients to recreate it. It wouldn’t matter how many times we had come together for a meal and poured that savory sauce on our plates, there would be no more barbecue sauce ever again!
This same principle applies to our spiritual life. No matter how many times our Discipleship Groups meet or how many verses we memorize, if we never share what we’ve learned with someone else then eventually there is no more Discipleship to be had!
If we fail to reproduce our Discipleship Groups we have missed the whole point. Paul encouraged Timothy to embrace a pipeline of equipping that never ends.If we fail to reproduce our Discipleship Groups we have missed the whole point. Paul encouraged Timothy to embrace a pipeline of equipping that never ends. Click To Tweet
“What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” — 2 Timothy 2:2 (CSB)
In just that one verse we see at least four generations of disciples. Once you have spent time as a group member it’s time for you to find some people to lead yourself! Ideally the group you create is at least partially made up of people you have led to Christ. Reproduction is essential because if we don’t share the Gospel and bring new people to faith in Jesus, eventually there is no one left to disciple. Remember, we’re not in Discipleship Groups to pass an exam, we’re in them to be equipped to advance the kingdom.
All of the Discipleship Group Essentials don’t amount to much without the last one: commitment. A healthy Discipleship Group without commitment is an oxymoron, they just don’t exist. Group members have to commit to striving towards Christlikeness through the spiritual disciplines and to attending the group meetings. Why is commitment so vital to the health and success of your group?
Spiritual Disciplines don’t happen by accident. All of them are much more likely to happen when you make a serious commitment to the environment of a Discipleship Group. If you’re not committed to the group you signed up for, you’re probably not committed to those disciplines either.
Commitment creates trust. The group grows deeper in their faith as the group grows closer to each other. Trust is key in a discipleship group. People are willing to be vulnerable, ask tough questions and challenge each other when they trust one another. Committing to consistently meeting week after week builds that trust that leads to transformation.
Signing a covenant is extremely helpful for creating commitment. I’ve made the mistake of not having a covenant in the past and regretted it the whole year. As the group leader, you need to set the expectation for attendance and reading/memorizing on the front end. We want to show people grace but we also want them to grow! You can’t expect someone to be committed to something they didn’t agree to in the first place.
Here is a sample Discipleship Group Covenant. Download it, make it your own and have your group put their signatures on it! You’ll be glad you did.
Every Discipleship Group is different. Different ages, different stages of life, different levels of spiritual maturity. But these 9 essentials we’ve discussed are the secret sauce that cooks up health and success for your group. Be diligent to focus on them and you will love what you see as you and your group link arms and grow closer to Christ together.