Some of the best times to start a Discipleship Group (D-Group) are after the start of a new school year (usually in August) and after the first of a new year. If you are considering beginning a D-Group now, here are a few steps and ideas for structuring your time together for you to store away
Pray about whom God would have you ask to be in your Discipleship Group (D-Group). When Jesus selected the twelve He would pour His life into, He prayed all night before selecting them.
During those days, he went out to the mountain to pray and spent all night in prayer to God. When daylight came, he summoned his disciples, and he chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles. (Luke 6:12-13, CSB)
Approach those individuals God has put on your heart and ask them to be a part of the group. When asking them, you might say something like, “Would you like to get together each week with other believers to study the Bible, memorize scripture, and pray together?”
After the group is formed, covenant with them to be committed and accountable to one another. Explain that being accountable to one another means that you are “answerable to” and “responsible for” those in your group.
Invest your life into your Discipleship Group (D-Group) members for the next 12 – 18 months (We believe this to be the optimal time for a D-Group). Let them know that you are investing in them so that they can turn around at the end of your time together and do the exact same thing with others. This was the preferred practice of the Apostle Paul to raise up gospel workers.
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)
How To Structure Your Discipleship Group
Begin with prayer. Ask each participant to present one prayer request at the start of each meeting. Assign a person to pray over the requests, and ask the Lord to sharpen each of you through your relationship.
Here are some additional elements that your weekly meetings can include:
- Have a time of intentional conversation by sharing the highs and lows of the week. You can also share celebrations and praises.
- Quote your Scripture memory verses for the week.
- Study the Word of God together. A great way to do this is to share HEAR journals from the week. The goal of studying the Bible is to apply the Word of God. Remember, knowledge without application is useless information.
- Use questions like these to help kickstart group discussion:
- What are you hearing from God, and what are you doing about it?
- What is God teaching you, and how is it affecting your life?
- Good application questions for examining a text:
- What does this passage teach about God?
- What does this passage teach about fallen humanity that requires the grace of God?
- How does this text point to Christ?
- Is there a promise to claim?
- Is there an action or attitude to avoid or embrace?
- Is there a principle to apply?
- Spend a few moments asking questions and keeping each other accountable. You can’t expect what you don’t inspect. Remember, all accountability should be saturated with grace, not legalism.
- Share prayer requests and close with prayer.
It is an exciting time to see new D-Groups form all around you, and during the first part of this year, we’ll keep providing a few tips to help you get started. Next week we will look at “best practices” for your first couple of D-Group meetings.
For additional ideas, see Long Hollow Baptist Church’s “D-Group” booklet, page 6.