The two questions we will address this week in our Q&A series are easily two of the most common. Let’s jump right in to answering Question 6:
Question 6: What is the difference between Sunday school/small groups and d-groups?
When it comes to groups, many church leaders struggle with the difference between D-groups and their existing groups. And, even if the leader isn’t struggling, they find it is a challenge to help their people see the difference. We have been so ingrained to think of groups in one way it is tough to envision them in a new way. Questions arise immediately like:
Why do we need another group?
Why can’t we just add accountability to our Sunday school?
Why is more of my time needed?
What happens in each group?
Sunday school/small groups are different than discipleship groups for many reasons. The best way to answer the group differences question is through this handy chart put together by Gus Hernandez who serves on the Replicate Team and is the Spiritual Formation Pastor at Long Hollow:
The differences in and of themselves do answer many of the questions about Discipleship groups in general. The Discipleship Pathway is intentional, and requires these two groups to provide separate and vital pillars to spiritual growth, maturity, and multiplication.
Question 5: How do I get my groups to multiply?
This is probably the top question we are asked after a church has implemented the discipleship Pathway and, more specifically, discipleship groups. We have found that launching discipleship groups, while it can be a challenge, is not as difficult as getting those groups to multiply. For many this is the first time they have ever been challenged to own their faith and make disciples. Additionally, there are many mature believers who struggle to multiply their discipleship groups. Here are some strategies to help you multiply your discipleship groups.
- Don’t Start Without It. When you start your group, make sure every member understands the agreement that you each will multiply. In other words, you are all committing to multiply into a group of 3-5 at the end of the discipleship group. This is non-negotiable. Make sure this is crystal clear in your very first meeting. Make clear it is one of the key purposes and reasons for the group.
- Weekly Accountability Questions. Every single week in your group ask everyone to be praying about having their group. Do not wait until a few weeks before the group ends to start asking. There will be very little multiplication if you wait. Ask weekly. Be praying consistently as a group about this mandate.
- Train Through It. Have a discipleship group training at least 2 – 3 times per year for all d-group leaders. You may even want to invite attendees. Help them, during these trainings to focus on strategies to multiply their groups. Allow successful multipliers to share how they did it. Celebrate the multiplication in these trainings.
- Journal the List. Each week make sure everyone is writing down the people they are praying for to multiply their group with. It is OK if this is vacant for the first several months but become more focused on it as the group gets into the second half of the agreed term. Writing the names down is crucial.
- Final Focus. With all of the previous steps behind you, make sure the last two months of meetings prioritize multiplication. That means not just praying for the people they will lead but approaching them and asking them to be in their group. The goal is to have the new groups already committed to being formed and launch before you end this discipleship group.
These five elements will help you be more effective at multiplying your discipleship groups. While you’ll probably never have 100% multiplication, these steps will help you increase your multipliers. One help hat has been effective that I’ll add to this response is that sometimes your leaders may not need to lead a group on their own. You may need to take them through another year or hand them off to a different leader. You may also find that having two of your members join up to launch a new group with others helps them if they are stumbling to take the handoff.
Well, there are the answers to questions 5 and 6, don’t miss next week as we focus on questions 3 and 4:
- Why are groups 3-5 versus larger or 1 on 1?
- What do you do in a d-group?