How do we effectively engage our congregation in discipleship? Is there a way that we can engage our members to dig into God’s Word consistently? How do you provide accountability? What is one of the most effective ways to get our children engaging in the Word of God? We know that in Matthew 28:19-20 our Lord and Savior gave us the Great Commission. Making disciples is important because it is the Lord’s chosen method of spreading the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ. During His public ministry, Jesus spent more than three years making disciples by teaching and training the twelve. Last year we sat down as a staff to discuss ways we could engage our congregation to read and study the Word of God consistently. We wanted to see the pattern established in the Scriptures. 2 Timothy 2:2 – “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” There is a pattern established here, which is given to build and grow faithful and devoted disciples of Jesus Christ who can go and multiply disciples. Paul who discipled Timothy, Timothy is to then disciple faithful men, and then the faithful men will be able to teach others also.
In January of 2020, we launched our discipleship groups, which are called d-groups. We invited members who were faithful with attendance to services as well as life groups (Sunday school) to form our d-groups. Each d-group has a leader with three to five other members that meet weekly to provide accountability. Our d-groups are encouraged to meet between an hour to an hour and a half. The groups are gender-specific men with men and women with women. Couples can also meet with couples, which usually is three to four couples in total. We provide a reading plan of five New Testament chapters a week, which will allow the entire New Testament to be covered in one year. The journaling method we are using is the H.E.A.R. approach. What is the H.E.A.R. journal approach? This simply stated is highlight, explain, apply, and respond to each chapter.
There are many benefits we have noticed since starting our discipleship groups last year. It has proven to be one of the best ways to engage our children in studying God’s Word daily and has revolutionized families in the church. As families come together weekly, they are discussing the Word of God and seeing God transform their children as well as their marriages. Another benefit we have noticed is that it is self-managing. Each small group leader and builds leaders with a soft entry point into leadership. It also develops disciples who can become future leaders. The goal is that at the end of the year those who have faithfully been a part of the d-group will then pray for three to five people they can each begin to meet with for the following year. This then will start the multiplying effect as one group of five could start up to potentially five more groups. We started with fifty people last year when we began our d-groups, and a year later we have multiplied and have a little over one hundred this year.