Two Popular Suspects that Kill D-Groups: Add-On and Bottom Shelf

Two Popular Suspects that Kill D-Groups: Add-On and Bottom Shelf

This month, we are giving you a sneak peek into one of our favorite exercises: D-Group Case Files. After working with thousands of churches on D-Groups, we boiled down the most common pitfalls for D-Groups. Over the next few weeks, we are sharing the 8 strategies that kill D-Groups. Today, we will introduce two suspects that often come in a pair: the Add-On and the Bottom Shelf.


Suspect 5: Add-on

The Add-On strategy involves adding D-Groups to existing programming without rethinking what else is being offered. This approach happens most often when leaders see D-Groups being done by another church and want to include it. However, just adding a D-Group onto a list of programming can lead to staff being spread too thin, and congregants engaging less.

More than ever, people are committing fewer hours each week to serve in the local church. We cannot expect to just add another program and think that our people will give us an additional hour. Additionally, the idea that more is better is not always true. Studies have shown that the more choices you give, the less people choose anything. More options doesn’t bring liberation, it brings paralysis.


Suspect 6: Bottom Shelf

The Bottom Shelf strategy involves lowering the bar for D-Groups, creating a comfortable and low-pressure environment that doesn’t challenge group members to grow in their faith. This approach comes from a good place – with engagement ministries, you want to remove any hurdles or obstacles that would prevent people from getting involved. However, when you look to empower someone to become a disciple-maker, you need to raise the bar, not lower it.

With Small Groups, we may say, “Come when you can” or “That’s okay if you didn’t read the passage beforehand,” but when you bring those same attitudes into the Discipleship Group space, it waters down the experience and prevents growth. When leaders start to value comfort for their members over their development, it is the beginning of the end for a D-Group ministry.


The Importance Of Avoiding These Suspects

It’s essential to remember that the purpose of D-Groups is not just to add another program or to create a comfortable environment for its members. The purpose is to become disciple-makers ourselves, to reproduce what we have learned and experienced in our own lives. By avoiding the pitfalls of the Add-On and Bottom Shelf strategies, we can create healthy, thriving D-Groups that multiply and make a lasting impact.

As we’ve seen, both the Add-On and Bottom Shelf approaches can hinder the growth of D-Groups. Instead, we need to refocus on developing disciple-makers and create a culture of intentional leadership that multiplies and transforms lives.


Join Our D-Group Co-Lab this Fall

If you’re looking to prioritize Discipleship Groups in your church this fall, consider joining our Discipleship Group Co-Lab from August to December. We will guide the first 10 churches that sign up to launch, relaunch, or sustain their D-Groups for the next year. If you’re interested, click here to learn more.

Click here to apply now!