The way churches view and conduct discipleship is changing.
In the past we have seen discipleship primarily as offering a series of un-connected courses or doctrinal training. We assumed that a mature Christian was someone who really had Bible facts nailed down. Our mistake was assuming that a cognitive experience was enough to change someone’s life. It will not.
One can have biblical information and not experience spiritual transformation.
What we are learning is that knowing the Bible and doing the Bible are two entirely different things. If our members would start doing what they already know to do, it would radically change our congregations and communities.
We are also seeing how the culture has impacted believers in very negative ways. It seems that many sin effects on those not followers of Christ often parallel members in our churches: divorce, addictions, broken relationships, etc.
Because of this we are learning that a huge part of discipleship is restoring broken lives and giving people hope. This takes time, energy and much love on the part of the disciple leader. What we are really after is life change so that hopeless, defeated broken people are made whole in Christ.
Reading, learning and applying the Bible is the heart and source for this to happen and the best method for this to occur is through small groups. Some groups form every 10 to 12 weeks based on affinity or needs. Some groups meet for six months or a year and seek to start or branch a new group.
Something super natural happens when a small group opens the Word of God and gets honest with God and each other as they seek more than just knowing the Word but actually living it out and applying it each day.
Jesus knew the power of small groups and the 12 were His small group. Yes He related to the crowds and other groups, but He poured His life into these men. When you look back over the last 2,000 years one would have to acknowledge that He was very successful. Those 12 and the early disciples of Jesus turned their world upside down or should I say right side up.
So discipleship is changing. It is returning to her roots and the New Testament pattern for changing people’s lives. Let’s not ever forget that disciples are broken people like us made whole in Christ.
So how is your church using small groups to change the world?
Keep the Son in your eyes,
Thanks Lisa! We do need to get back to reaching people one at a time for the Kingdom.
I totally agree with your article. Without a vision the people will perish. If we as Christians are not reaching the lost than who is? A Church is not a club but a body of Christ hopefully being lead by a Godly man who is discipling his flock to reach others for Jesus. Our churches should be packed with people lined up outside trying to get in! 🙂