As a guy, getting invited to that middle school Sadie Hawkins dance was the greatest moment of your 12 years on Earth up to that moment. Finally, the girls have to do the inviting and believe it or not you got picked! You were on such a high getting invited that you proudly wore those overalls so that your mom to get a picture. Then you showed up at the school only to realize the inevitable truth that you wouldn’t actually be spending any time with that girl at the dance. Guys on one side of the dance floor, girls on the other. Not exactly the night you had envisioned.
Everyone loves getting invited to something, right? But it’s always a disappointment to show up and find yourself thinking, “This is not what I thought I was signing up for.”
Now that we’ve found some F.A.I.T.H.ful people to invite to our discipleship group, we have to talk about how to reach out to them in a way that gives them have a clear understanding of what they’re being invited into.
Why is it so important to do a good job inviting someone to your D Group? It seems simple enough. It’s important because your invitation communicates your expectations.
Keep the Bar High!
It can be tempting to undersell the commitment needed in order to secure a quick “Yes”. You may want to say something like, “Just come when you can.” But this greatly minimizes the importance of consistency in attendance when building the relationship between group members. We also want to avoid telling them, “We’re going to pray, memorize Scripture, journal and study the Word together, but just do what you can.” Again, this really minimizes the emphasis on commitment to the spiritual disciplines.
We need to make sure we don’t lower the bar in our invitation and then raise it when they come to your first meeting. Tell them exactly what the group is going to look like and that it is going to require discipline and commitment! If we don’t give them the right expectations they will quit when they realize it’s not what they signed up for.
Remember, our desire for each invitee is for them to do what God wants them to do, not what we think is best for them. It’s okay if someone turns down your invitation!
Pump the Brakes
On the flipside of this equation, you may encounter the person that wants to opt in before you’re even finished with the word ‘discipleship’. Even with this eager beaver, be sure to finish telling them what the group will be doing each week. And this might sound counterintuitive, but don’t accept their “Yes” right away. Tell them you’re excited about their enthusiasm but to take a few days to think and pray about it. Make sure the Holy Spirit is part of this decision-making process!
Share Your Experience
Perhaps the best way to tell someone the impact a discipleship group could have on their life is to tell them your own experience. If discipleship has been significant enough to you that you want to invite them into it, tell them why! Invite others with confidence knowing what the Lord has done in your own life!
Let the people you invite know exactly what they’re getting into and how impactful is has been for you, the leave things up to them and God. You can trust Him that He will help the right people will find their way to your group!
The best way for you to help your invitees understand what all is involved in a D-Group might be to give them a copy of the D-Group Starter Guide! This resource will help you and your F.A.I.T.H.ful group members get off to a healthy start and set you up for success over the next 12-18 months.
Pastors, help your church members find others to disciple and develop every other aspect of your discipleship ministry by checking out the Replicate Network.