How to Lead a Healthy Discipleship Group, Part 2

One of our favorite ways to relax and refresh is to load up our bird dog, Roux, and go hunting. 

As anybody who spends any time outdoors will tell you, it’s important to be able to identify the foliage around you. All it takes is a brush with a patch of poison ivy to ruin your entire week. 

Fortunately, plants all have identifying features that let you know what they are so that you can know which of them is safe.

Healthy discipleship groups will have identifying marks as well. If you want to lead a thriving discipleship group, you have to be able to look for the MARCS that tell you whether or not it is healthy.

 

M: Missional

As you begin spending time in the Word, memorizing it, and discussing it with people who are helping you grow, you’ll find that it starts to change your attitudes toward everyone around you. 

One of the things you’ll notice is that you develop a hunger to share what you’ve found with people who don’t have it.

For years, evangelism and discipleship have seemed like things that are at odds with each other: The former is about calling the unbelievers and the latter is about growing believers. 

The truth is that these two things are two separate oars in the same boat.

As you grow in your discipleship journey, you’ll have an increasing desire to introduce the lost to Jesus.

 

A: Accountable

Accountability does not come naturally. 

It can be intimidating to be vulnerable in front of others, and it can be equally intimidating to hold someone to a standard that they aren’t reaching. But accountability is absolutely crucial to the health of your discipleship group.

During your time together, you will encounter every kind of up and down that life can throw at you. Fortunately, by fostering an atmosphere of accountability, you can support each other no matter what comes your way.

Accountability also plays a key role in how those in your groups respond to temptation. If your discipleship group is a place where your members can be open with each other without judgment, temptation can be headed off before it snowballs into something more serious.

 

R: Reproducible

A discipleship group is not like a classroom lecture. If it were, we’d never expect the people “in the seats” to become the person behind the podium. Not everyone is called to be a teacher.

But discipleship groups are structured differently. They are a small group of like-minded believers meeting together to grow spiritually together. Once you’ve seen it in action, anybody can reproduce it.

If you find your group becoming something that looks more like rows instead of a circle, take some time to re-evaluate the way your group interacts. Pass off responsibilities to other members so that they can see they can do it after your group ends.

 

C: Communal

A natural byproduct of a discipleship group is true, genuine, honest friendship. You will become very close with the people you’re walking alongside, and that is incredible.

Foster this communal mentality in your group. Have each other’s backs. Socialize with them outside of your regular group meetings. Keep up with each other and each other’s families during the week.

 

S: Scriptural

A discipleship group has only one textbook: God’s Word.

It is the center of your meetings and at the forefront of your minds. While it is perfectly fine to read outside books together, it should never take precedent over the Bible.

As you settle into a rhythm of reading, discussing, and memorizing Scripture, you will find that your hunger for it will only grow. 

Take a step back from time to time to evaluate what takes center stage in your group. If it is Scripture, you can be relatively assured that the rest of the MARCS will follow.

 

If you’d like to know more about how to start a Discipleship Group, download out our free D-Group Starter Guide, and if you’re a pastor wanting to start D-Groups in your church, we recommend you check out our Discipleship Blueprint training.

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