How to Handle Commitment Issues within your Discipleship Group

How to Handle Commitment Issues within your Discipleship Group

If you’re leading a Discipleship Group with members who never demonstrate commitment issues, consider yourself an anomaly. In all likelihood, at some point you will face one of the following scenarios, or at least a pretty similar one:
  • A member who consistently has trouble preparing their memory verses
  • A member who frequently makes excuses for why they can’t meet
  • A member who isn’t writing H.E.A.R. journal entries with regularity
  • A member who is reluctant to open up to the group
If any of these feel familiar, you’re far from alone. However, this is the perfect opportunity to address the commitment issue you’re facing while strengthening your bond with that member and the group at large.  

Five Principles that Disciple Groups are Committed to:

1.   Weekly Disciplines

The five weekly disciplines are:
  • Bible reading
  • E.A.R. Journals
  • Scripture Memory
  • Prayer
  • Personal Accountability
By recognizing and living out these disciplines yourself, you should be able to identify when one of your members is falling behind in an area.

2.   Weekly Attendance

A Discipleship Group should meet once a week. Your group can set the meeting day and time together, so if one member is having trouble committing it will be fairly easy to notice.

3.   Confidentiality

Confidentiality is key. Information that is shared needs to remain within the walls of your group unless explicitly stated otherwise. If a member shares personal information with someone outside of the group, this breaks confidentiality.

4.   Investing in Your ONE

The heart of a Discipleship Group is ultimately evangelism. The goal is to take what you have learned about Jesus and bring it to others who need it. You should check in regularly on your members’ relationships with their ONE to ensure that they’re investing in others.

5.   Multiplication

The Discipleship Group is only finished when it multiplies. Ideally, after you have been meeting for 12-18 months, your members should be ready to begin again with a group of their own. So how should you address a commitment issue? Well, let’s take a look!  

5 Tips for Addressing Commitment Issues

1.   Look for patterns

You may see some members in one-off instances of falling behind in an area, but what you’re actually looking for is patterns of falling behind. Ask yourself: Does this behavior happen more weeks than it doesn’t? Did this person express interest in changing but never seem to make adjustments? If the answer to either question was yes, then it might be time for a conversation.

2.   Remind them of the expectations

When you’re having a conversation with this member, you should remind them of their expectations. This is one reason signing a covenant is important at the beginning of the group. At any time, you can bring the covenants back out and remind your members of what they agreed to when the group began. The goal is to avoid he-said-she-said and conjecture; you can point to the paper and let them know where they may be falling short.

3.   Remind them of the “why”

A Discipleship Group is not about strict adherence to a set of rules. Instead, these groups are for intentionally equipping believers with the Word of God, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to replicate faithful followers of Christ. By focusing on why we do discipleship, the rest will follow.

4.   Ask Questions, not Accusations

Instead of confronting issues with accusations, you should begin by asking questions. Some examples of helpful questions are: “Are there ways that we can help you with your Scripture Memorization?” “How can we encourage you better in this area?” You’ll find that asking intentional questions will go a long way.

5.   Recognize Grace Givers vs Truth Tellers

Above all, recognize the difference between a Grace Giver and a Truth Teller. A truth-teller is more interested in making sure that the truth is spoken, even if it means the truth is not heard. A grace-giver is interested in making sure that truth is received, even if it is not spoken directly. While we should always speak the truth, we must do so in a way that the person receiving it takes it to heart. This is most often done through being generous with grace. If a member is struggling in an area and doesn’t improve after repeated conversations, perhaps this is not the season for them to be in a Discipleship Group, and that is okay. It is better for them to try again at a later time than to be involved now and leave with a bad taste in their mouth.  

Move Forth with Grace

As you approach some of these difficult conversations with your group, remember to do so from a standpoint of grace– the same grace you receive from God every day. In doing so, you will demonstrate the love of Jesus and might just change the way that your member responds to the call to make disciples of all nations. For more resources about Discipleship Group commitment, guides on how to have difficult conversations or ways to increase the bond between your members, make sure to check out what we have available at We want to see you find success in the greatest calling a believer can live up to.