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This post is part of our Discipleship Q&A Series

My daughter loves to ask questions. Her favorite question is, “why”? No matter what I say, her follow up question is the same, “why”? When dealing with children, this can get annoying because asking “why” is a never-ending loop. If you are like me, you try to end this loop with the answer, “Because I said so.” Even that often does not work, but you give it your best shot.

When it comes to disciple-making questions, our Replicate Ministries team has heard just about every question possible in the decade since we began training leaders. Of course, we do not have all of the answers, and the answers we do have are often the result of “dumb tax” our team has paid along the way. What is interesting is that the main questions are generally all the same. When training, we like to have Q&A times so that people can get their questions answered. After parsing the standard questions we are asked, we have come up with the top ten regarding disciple-making. Over the next few weeks, we will cover these ten questions. Today, we will look at questions nine and ten.

Question 10: How do we know our d-group leaders aren’t teaching heresy?

There is always this thought with discipleship groups that there will be some people who either inadvertently or intentionally teach heresy. It could be the result of the leader having learned bad theology, or it could be a leader with an agenda to teach something unbiblical. Our first response to this question is, “How do you ensure your leaders aren’t teaching heresy in any environment in your church?” Whether you have leaders leading Bible studies or serving as greeters, they tend to share what they believe. The answer is the same for discipleship groups as it is for any area of ministry. You vet as best you can and entrust the ministry to the people. Just because discipleship groups do not use a set curriculum does not mean they are in any more danger of having leaders who teach heresy more than any other area in the church. We pray, equip, and assess all of our leaders the same. This question comes up so often regarding discipleship groups because of the unfamiliar process of empowering people to go and multiply. The challenge is to entrust them and unleash them to do ministry. Ultimately, we cannot know what goes on in every facet of our ministry. But as always, we pray, follow the Lord’s leading, and address any issues that arise along the way.

Just because discipleship groups do not use a set curriculum does not mean they are in any more danger of having leaders who teach heresy more than any other area in the church. Click To Tweet

Question 9: How does discipleship work with teenagers and kids?

When implementing the discipleship pathway, it is easier for leaders to know how it works with adults. Adults can set their own schedules, drive wherever they need to go and press into the discipleship groups on their own accord. It is more complicated for kids and teenagers when some of these elements are not options for them. The simple answer to this question is that we encourage and equip the parents of our students to disciple their children. We equip them through training opportunities throughout the year and with resources such as the Foundations for Teens and Foundations for Kids plans. These resources were explicitly designed to equip parents to disciples their children. But these are not the only ways. Depending on the context of your ministry, you may have leadership available to lead discipleship groups with the teenagers in your church. We do this at Long Hollow. The key for us is that we recruit leaders to invest in a group of students (3-5) just like the adult groups. We do not suggest allowing underage students to lead discipleship groups for a myriad of reasons, but we do have college students leading some of these groups. For kids, we lean on our parents and the equipping of our parents to disciple their children. We do undergird the process by referencing and connecting our kid’s ministry to discipleship as much as possible. This means our curriculum is sermon-based, and our staff and leaders are leading discipleship groups of other adults as an example of how we want to see our kids develop. When it comes to teenagers and kids, there is no easy answer, and every church context is different. We suggest examining who you have and what you want to accomplish and proceed as slowly as needed to implement the most effective strategy. We fully believe that as parents are discipled, they will understand their children’s need to be discipled and step in to lead them.

Those are the answers to questions nine and ten. Next week we will look at questions seven and eight in your Q&A series:

  • Why does the d-group need to be 12 to 18 months long?
  • How do you train your discipleship group leaders?

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