With introductions out of the way, you are now a full week into your discipleship journey with your group. But even now, in the second week, you’re already getting to the meat.
You have already learned how to start your group, but now let’s figure out how to lead your discipleship group and make it thrive.
We mentioned last week that there are some non-negotiables when it comes to discipleship. The core parts of a discipleship group, its DNA, are as follows:
- H.E.A.R. Journals
- Scripture memory
- Bible reading
On your second meeting, it is the perfect time to introduce the H.E.A.R. Journal. Let’s take a few minutes to look at what a H.E.A.R. Journal is and why it is so useful.
A Better Way to Read the Bible: H.E.A.R. God Speak
Odds are, you’re not a complete novice when it comes to Bible reading. You’ve at least heard of the concept: open the Bible, read what it says, and then take something away from it.
What you are lacking is a tried-and-true method for making that happen in an intentional and repeatable way. This is where the H.E.A.R. Journal comes into play.
H.E.A.R. is an acronym that stands for Highlight, Explain, Apply, and Respond. It describes a simple process that you can follow every single day to help you create an atmosphere where God can speak to you through His Word.
Here’s how it works:
We are going to assume for the purpose of this exercise that you and your Discipleship Group are working through a reading plan together. The first step is to read the selection of Scripture assigned for that day. (Note: if you are using the F-260, this will only be one or two chapters)
Then, in a journal, you’re going to highlight just one verse that stood out to you. It doesn’t have to be the most famous verse from that passage or even one you’ve noticed before – just whatever stood out as you read God’s Word with an open heart.
We’ll talk later about how to better explore the meaning of a text, but for now, keep this step simple. Ask the text a couple of questions: Who wrote this? Who was the intended audience? How does it fit with the verses around it? What was the purpose of this verse?
In this step, you are simply offering a few sentences of explanation, putting the verse in its proper context.
With very few exceptions, the text you just explained was not written directly to you. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn something about Jesus through it. In this step, in light of the explanation you just gave, write down a take-away that you can apply to your life right now.
Try asking a few of these questions if you’re feeling a bit stuck: How can this help me? What does this mean today? What is God telling me through this text? As you engage personally, you’ll find that God still speaks – loudly – through His Word.
This is the final step of a H.E.A.R. Journal, and in a lot of ways, it’s the most open to interpretation. In your journal, write down a response you have to the truth you just encountered in Scripture. It might be an action step. It might be a conviction. It might be a simple prayer. Whatever the Holy Spirit is leading you to do, take a few moments to write it down and record it.
As your Discipleship Group gets used to doing H.E.A.R. Journals and sharing them, you will find that it gets easier every time. At first, it may be a bit of a stretch to ask every member to come prepared with five different entries every week. That’s okay. Start with a manageable number and then grow from there.
You’ll find that God will change your life because of your deep interaction with His Word. If you have further questions, or even want to see sample H.E.A.R. entries, feel free to check out the resources we have available at replicate.org/dgroup.