We realize it is a difficult transition going from one group to multiple groups. There are all kinds of barriers that pop up. However, many times those things we call barriers are really just excuses that we need a little push to get past.
There are five barriers that come up over and over again when it’s time for a discipleship group to multiply. For the person with a sincere desire to make disciples who make disciples these are just temporary speed bumps.If it is the Holy Spirit driving your spirit of multiplication, He will equip you in every way you need! Click To Tweet
If you’re reading this, let’s assume you believe Scripture teaches that multiplication should be part of the Christian life. That takes care of the theological barrier. Here are the other most common barriers and how to move past them.
Practical – I Don’t Know How to Lead a Discipleship Group
Simply put, if you have been in a healthy discipleship group, then yes you do! You probably haven’t looked at your group leader and thought, “Wow, it really takes somebody special to lead a d-group.” There is no magic formula to being a group leader. It just requires you being faithful to your time with the Lord and guiding your group to do the same.
Community – I Don’t Want to Leave My Current Group
What a great problem to have! Discipleship groups can feel like a blessing and a curse when it’s time to multiply. The mic drop response to this barrier is always, “Aren’t you glad the disciples didn’t keep the Gospel to themselves?”
If you are in a group that you don’t want to leave then you have experienced something that others need! Besides, no one is stopping you from getting together with your current group in the future.
Qualification – I Don’t Feel Qualified to Lead Others
Your character and competency come into view here.
If competency is your hangup, you’re likely thinking you don’t have the skills or you can’t do it like your leader did. Maybe you genuinely are not comfortable being the leader of any kind of group. Let me challenge you that perhaps the Lord is looking to mold you into a great leader and that process needs to start by leading a discipleship group. God made you a specific way and you need to lead the way He made you to lead.
Also, a discipler does not need to be a teacher with all the answers. That is not the expectation of you as the leader. A discipler is someone leading someone else along the path they are walking on. A discipler says, “Come follow me as I’m following Jesus.”
If character is in your way you may feel like you are not mature enough, not consistent enough in the spiritual disciplines or maybe there is a sin in your life you can’t shake. We are all learning and growing in our maturity and discipline. Leading a group may be the push you need to take those things to the next level. Sin, on the other hand, could be a real red light you need to pay attention to.
Availability – I Don’t Feel Like I Have the Time
There are periods in everyone’s life where it may be wise to take some time off of being in a discipleship group. However, those times are few and far between that we don’t need brothers and sisters pushing us towards Christlikeness in a discipleship relationship.
On the practical side of this barrier, look for ways to maximize your calendar. If you regularly go out to breakfast or lunch choose one of those a week to be your group meeting time! Most of the time this barrier just requires you repurposing something already on your calendar.
People – I Don’t Know Who I Would Invite
This barrier simply requires planning and diligence. If you want to multiply, begin thinking and praying about who you should disciple months in advance of your multiply date. That is a prayer I am confident the Lord will answer.
As you think about which of these barriers you identify with the most, keep this thought in mind: “Am I telling God ‘Not now.’ or is God telling me ‘Not now?’” If you are the one pumping the brakes rather than God, trust the Holy Spirit to equip you and hit the gas!
If you’re getting ready to start a discipleship group and need some help getting over an obstacle, check out the D-Group Starter Guide! This resource will help you get your group off to a healthy start and set you up for success over the next 12-18 months.
Pastors, help your church members start their groups and develop every other aspect of your discipleship ministry by checking out the Replicate Network.