How To Start a Reproducible Discipleship Group

Discipleship is Relationship, not Programs

Making disciples places priority on an invitation to relationships, not an invitation to programs. Discipleship is not a 6-week, 10-week, or even a 30-week program. Our efforts to make disciples are often conducted through programs, not through relational process.

A Process to Help Get Started

Pray. Ask the Lord to draw you to spiritually hungry people. Take your time. Let conviction settle in. Only then go to the next step.

Make a personal invitation. Approach a person in the following way: “The Lord has placed you on my heart. Would you be willing to join me and one or two others on a weekly journey toward becoming better disciples of Jesus?”

Tell them what is involved. If you are using a curriculum such as Discipleship Essentials, give them an overview of the content and the means in which you will cover it.

Review the Covenant.[1] Disciples need a clear sense of what is expected of them. Walk through the covenant line-by-line and have them restate the requirements in their own words. Mention that the triad/quad will be meeting weekly for approximately a year.

Ask the disciple to prayerfully consider the invitation. Specifically, ask him not to give you an immediate answer, but to examine whether he has the time and the heart for what lies ahead.

Inform him that at least one other person will be joining you. If this is your first invitation, this person may even suggest who the third or fourth person might be.

Set the first regular meeting and get started. Find a quiet place where you will be able to develop intimate transparency. At the first session ask each person to share the process by which he came to commit to the group.

Guide participants through the sessions. Go at a comfortable pace. Encourage questions. Address personal matters. Life will happen while you are together. The curriculum is only a tool, not something in which to be enslaved.

Model transparency. The group will go as deep as the leader’s willingness to be vulnerable.

Keep multiplication as a high value. The commitment to disciple others must be in the original covenant and remain the focus. Since all group members will take turns leading the process, they will quickly see that it can be done.

Greg Ogden, Oak Brook, Illinois.

1. Greg Ogden, Discipleship Essentials: A Guide to Building Your Life in Christ (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1998), 14.