We are called to more than just church attendance and living a moral lifestyle. Jesus's last instructions to the apostles were to make disciples and teach them His ways. Disciple groups are groups of 3-5 people who dig into the Bible together to learn the ways of Jesus, discover truths about Him that the apostles left behind for us, and put our knowledge and understanding to use by serving the community. Buckle up. It's about to get real.
What is a D-Group?
A D-Group is gender-specific closed group of 3 to 5 believers (including the leader) who meet together weekly for the purpose of accelerated spiritual transformation.
The format of a D-Group is not one of a teacher-student, but a roundtable discussion. A teacher shares information, while a discipler shares life; a teacher aims for the head, while a discipler aims for the heart; a teacher measures knowledge, while a discipler measures faith; a teacher is an authority, while a discipler is a servant; and a teacher says, ‘Listen to me,’ while a discipler says, "Follow me." This blueprint, sketched by Jesus Christ through His personal example, is how discipleship is accomplished in the lives of believers, and, ultimately, within the local church. When this plan is followed, those involved will participate in three dynamics that result in growth in their personal lives, as well as in the Kingdom: community, accountability, and multiplication.
How do I find a D-Group?
If you would like to be in a D-Group, click here to see a list of ones you might like to join. If you would like more help finding a group, click here to send us an email and just say, "Hey, I'm interested in joining a Disciple Group."
How do I lead a D-Group?
The only absolute requirement for leading a D-Group is that you be intentionally pursuing Christ. You do not need to be a master teacher or have all of the answers; you do not need to be able to say, “Listen to me.” If you can say, “Follow me; I’m pursuing Christ,” you have the tools you need to lead a D-Group. Click here to send us an email and just say, "Hey, I'm interested in leading a Disciple Group."
As a D-Group leader, you set the tone for the group’s atmosphere. You are not lecturing students; you are cultivating an intimate, accountable relationship with a few close friends. Joel Rosenberg and T.E. Koshy wrote in their book The Invested Life that the discipleship relationship is “more personal, more practical, and more powerful. A teacher shares information, while a discipler aims for the heart; a teacher measures knowledge, while a discipler measures faith; a teacher is an authority, while a discipler is a servant; and a teacher says, ‘Listen to me,’ while a discipler says, ‘Follow me.’”
How do I choose disciples?
To start a D-Group, always pray first and consistently show Christ-like hospitality to others. Then take the initiative to ask others to join your D-Group. Be patient and persistent in asking people to join your group. A D-Group can begin with as few as three to five people. New groups should be started when group participation reaches eight. To begin a discipleship group, consider creating diversity within the group such as:
Another mature believer, who can assist in leading the group and be equipped to lead a new group when it is time for you to multiply.
New believers, who can benefit by connecting in discipleship with other believers.
Unbelievers and the unchurched, who are open to hearing about Jesus.
Multi-generational believers, who bring different life stages and different spiritual journeys into the group.
Believers struggling in life with issues such as drug abuse, depression, loneliness, and gender identification, who will benefit from having the support and accountability of other believers.
How many people should be in the group?
Because accountability works well in a smaller setting, the ideal size of a disciple-making group is 3 to 5. We recommend that you do not have more than 6, and remember that a one-on-one relationship is not ideal.
Where should we meet?
Find a meeting place away from the church. Restaurants, coffee shops, bookstores, diners, and homes are all good options. Meeting outside the church in the community encourages your group members to publicize their faith, teaching them it is okay to read the Bible at a restaurant or pray in public. Be sure to select a place that is convenient to all group members.
How often should we meet?
Ideally, you should meet once a week for about an hour to an hour and a half. You can meet more frequently, but it is important that you meet at least once a week. This schedule does not prohibit those you are discipling from calling you throughout the week or coming by for counsel when needed. It is important to remember that discipleship is about the relationship between you and your group members, not about checking a requirement box. Disciple-making is a way of life, not a program.
What do D-Group meetings look like?
Fellowship Time - Create fellowship within the group wherever it meets. Share coffee, a snack, or a meal.
Accountability Time - Create accountability each week by asking if group members read their Bibles daily. Lead them to share some application points written in their notes. Always ask the two accountability questions.
Prayer Time - Develop an on-going emphasis on prayer, with members taking responsibility for leading the group in prayer.
Tell the Story - Assign a member in the group each week to tell the Bible story or paraphrase the passage to be studied.
Read the Story - Assign another member in the group to read the passage to be studied from the Bible.
Facilitate Bible Study - Assign another member in your group to facilitate the Bible study using the questions provided in the weekly study guide.
Ministry Planning Time - Take time to plan for your next ministry project. D-Groups do one ministry and evangelism project every two months.
Weekly Assignments - Make your assignments for the next week.
How do I challenge my D-Group to memorize Scripture?
Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” How many times has a Scripture come to mind when you needed just the right words in a situation? Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would bring to remembrance all that He said (John 14:26). Those passages of Scripture we have memorized will be brought to our memory at the right moment – but we must learn them.
When do I send out disciples to make disciples?
Always begin with the end in mind. Your group should meet for 12 to 18 months, and they should expect that final date from the very beginning. Some groups develop a closer bond, which results in accelerated growth; others take longer. We do not recommend meeting for longer than 18 months. Some group members will desire to leave the group and begin their own groups. Others, however, will want to remain in the comfort zone of the existing group. Some will not want to start another D-Group because of the sweet fellowship and bonds formed within the current group. Remember, the goal is for the men and the women of the group to replicate their lives into someone else.