My high school football team had a great culture. We really enjoyed each other and were glad to help the guy behind us on the depth chart because we wanted our team to be successful long after we were gone. Because of that environment, we won a whole lot more than we lost and they are still winning more than a decade after I was there.
In my one season as a walk-on at UT-Chattanooga I experienced the opposite end of the spectrum. That team was used to losing, didn’t really care to practice and nobody wanted to help someone out that could potentially take their playing time. No advice, no answered questions, no passing along wisdom from the senior to the freshmen. It was every man for themselves. Not surprisingly, we were 1-11 and our entire coaching staff was fired.
When the veteran doesn’t embrace the newcomer, everyone loses. That is infinitely more true in our spiritual lives and has eternal ramifications for those that come after us!
Paul encouraged Timothy to embrace a pipeline of teaching and equipping that never ends.
“What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” — 2 Timothy 2:2 (CSB)
This is the cornerstone of everything we’re trying to do in our d-groups.
In just that one verse we see at least four generations of disciples. Once you have spent time as a group member it’s time for you to find some people to lead yourself! And ideally, the group you create is at least partially made up of people you have led to Christ.
Reproduction is essential because if we don’t share the Gospel and bring new people to faith in Jesus, eventually there is no one left to disciple. Remember, we’re not in Discipleship Groups to pass a spiritual final exam, we’re in them to be equipped to advance the kingdom.
Reproduction should be encouraged and embraced as the end goal of all of our d-groups. We want to always be equipping others to replicate this discipleship process in the lives of the people around them.
Think about it, no matter how many times our Discipleship Groups meet or how many verses we memorize, if we never share what we’ve learned with someone else then eventually there is no more Discipleship! It’s the reason this ministry is named Replicate in the first place! The day we stop pouring into others is the day we drop the Gospel baton that has been handed to us.
If we fail to reproduce our Discipleship Groups we have missed the whole point. So, embrace multiplication from the very beginning of your discipleship group. Let it be one of the expectations for your group members. Talk about it often. Cast the vision of reproduction. Help them think through who to invite when it is their turn to lead. Do those things, and one day you just might find yourself looking at a Redwood-sized spiritual family tree that grew from the seed you are planting today.
The best way for you to ensure your group members catch the vision of reproduction from the beginning is to walk them through the D-Group Starter Guide! This resource will help you plant that seed of multiplication in them so that you can cultivate it throughout your time together.
Pastors, help your church members reproduce, and develop every other aspect of your discipleship ministry by checking out the Replicate Network.