Avoiding Two of the Most Tempting, But Fatal D-Group Strategies

Avoiding Two of the Most Tempting, But Fatal D-Group Strategies

This month, we are giving you a sneak peek into one of our favorite exercises: D-Group Case Files. After working with thousands of churches on D-Groups, we boiled down the most common pitfalls for D-Groups. Over the next few weeks, we are sharing the 8 strategies that kill D-Groups. Today, we will introduce two more suspects that are very tempting for churches but can be detrimental to the effectiveness of D-Groups: D-Harmony and Exclusive Host.

Suspect 3: D-Harmony

D-Harmony is the practice of matching people with 3-4 other men or women that the church staff thinks would be best for them. This is a common approach for churches trying to start D-Groups. However, this strategy can be problematic for two reasons.

Firstly, when you place five random people in a group and ask them to be fully transparent about their struggles, it is no surprise that the group struggles to gel, and people quickly drop out. Secondly, when the staff takes ownership of recruiting and forming the groups, it sends a subtle message that this is the church’s D-Group, rather than the individual’s D-Group that the church helps with. When ownership shifts to the church instead of the individual, it will remain an engagement ministry rather than an empowerment ministry.

Suspect 4: Exclusive Host 

The Exclusive Host says, “All of our D-Groups happen at our building at this time.” In other words, the Exclusive Host makes the D-Group a program, reinforcing the same idea that D-Harmony did. It is a church ministry that I help with. Instead, we want people to let their relationships determine when and where their group meets. This may be at restaurants, on front porches, or at work on any and every day of the week.

It isn’t wrong to host D-Groups at the church, but it can’t be the exclusive place or time for D-Groups. D-Groups should be formed based on relationships, not convenience. This way, the group members are more likely to be committed to each other and their personal growth.

The Unintended Consequence

In D-Harmony and Exclusive Host scenarios, the church maintains ownership and control over the D-Groups, preventing attendees from taking ownership themselves. This limits the growth and effectiveness of D-Groups as a disciple-making environment. By empowering individuals to take ownership of their own D-Groups, the church can create a culture of disciple-makers who are actively leading and mentoring others in their faith.

The key to successful D-Groups is to let relationships determine the structure of the group. Instead of matching people randomly or hosting all groups at the church building, allow individuals to form groups based on their existing relationships. This way, attendees are more likely to be committed to the group, and the group is more likely to own the group as their ministry, not the church’s.

Avoiding Pitfalls and Focusing on Disciple-Making

As church staff, it’s easy to fall into the trap of D-Harmony and Exclusive Host. However, it’s essential to remember that the purpose of D-Groups is to empower individuals to become disciple-makers, not to create another program for the church. By avoiding these pitfalls and focusing on empowering individuals to lead their D-Groups, we can create thriving, effective D-Groups that transform lives and communities.

In conclusion, D-Harmony and Exclusive Host may seem like convenient strategies for churches looking to start D-Groups. However, by prioritizing relationships and empowering individuals to lead their own groups, churches can create an environment where disciple-making thrives. When individuals take ownership of their own spiritual growth, they are better equipped to lead and mentor others in their faith, creating a ripple effect that can transform entire communities.


Join Our D-Group Co-Lab this Fall

If you’re looking to prioritize Discipleship Groups in your church this fall, consider joining our Discipleship Group Co-Lab from August to December. We will guide the first 10 churches that sign up to launch, relaunch, or sustain their D-Groups for the next year. If you’re interested, click here to learn more.

Click here to apply now!