Do you ever break your own rules? Anybody nodding with me? “I’m going to stay away from sugar until my birthday.” “I will not pick up my phone until the kids have gone to bed.” “I’m going to floss every night before bed.” We break our own rules all the time!
How about this one? “Next year I absolutely have to be more selective with who I invite into my discipleship group.” I’ve been guilty of breaking this resolution way more times than I care to admit. I want to invite people just because I like them and I end up regretting it every time.
Please hear me, the selection process for your discipleship group members either sets you up for great success or 12 months of headaches. It’s not about inviting people, it’s about inviting the right people. So, how do we know what makes somebody the right person?
We used to say we were looking for “F.A.T.” people. We decided to expand that to “F.A.I.T.H.” just in case anybody didn’t realize it was an acronym. If you will be patient and diligent to find people that check the boxes of this somewhat cheesy acronym, you and your group are going to be much better for it. Let’s check out what a F.A.I.T.H.ful person looks like.
You want to invite this person to your group because they already show consistency in their walk with the Lord. A Discipleship Group is not the place to prove faithfulness, it is something we invite them into as a result of their faithfulness.
Ask the question, “Are they being faithful where they are right now?” They are likely to be found on volunteer teams and they rarely miss time with their small group. A faithful person doesn’t necessarily know what the Christian life is all about, but they know they are all about the Christian life.A faithful person doesn’t necessarily know what the Christian life is all about, but they know they are all about the Christian life. Click To Tweet
Before you invite someone to your group make sure they actually have the margin in their schedule to commit! Availability is the characteristic that has all but wrecked one of my groups in the past. Really great people can unintentionally ruin a group if their hectic schedule causes them to be inconsistent with their attendance.
If someone’s schedule just won’t allow it this year, that’s okay! You’re not saying “No” to them, just “Not right now.” Do your best to pick a consistent time to meet and make sure your potential members can make it happen each week.
Intentional people know that being formed into the image of Christ does not happen by accident! We’re looking for people that see the purpose of a D-Group and want to participate so they can intentionally work on their spiritual growth. This is really a matter of setting the right expectations on the front end. Invite people that want to be there for a purpose!
I shouldn’t pick favorites, but if I could only pick one quality this would be the one. A teachable spirit is such a joy to work with! As Pastor Robby has said many times, “You won’t learn anything until you admit you don’t know everything.” If an individual is teachable then the other four characteristics will improve naturally. Be looking for the person that is willing to take critique, asks good questions and listens before they speak.
A principle of therapy applies to our conversation: You can’t want it for the other person. If you are hungry for someone else to grow spiritually but they aren’t hungry themselves, you’re going to find yourself scrolling through gifs under the heading “Banging Head Against Wall”.
On the flipside, I like to think of this as the contagious quality. Hungry people make other hungry people hungrier! Hungry people feed off of each other. (See what I did there?) This person’s enthusiasm for God will rub off on the others in your group and cause you all to want more and more of His Word.
As a sidenote, when you are looking for the people to invite to your group next year double check that you possess all these qualities too! Maybe even do an inventory of them with your current group near the end of the year.
As you search for your next group members you’re going to know a person of F.A.I.T.H. when you see them. Ask the Lord to reveal those people to you and enjoy your time learning and growing together!
As you’re thinking through who to invite to your group make sure to check out the D-Group Starter Guide! This resource will help you and your F.A.I.T.H.ful group members get off to a healthy start and set you up for success over the next 12-18 months.
Pastors, help your church members find others to disciple and develop every other aspect of your discipleship ministry by checking out the Replicate Network.