THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP IS GREAT. BUT THE COST OF NON-DISCIPLESHIP IS FAR GREATER!
There’s a great cost for all who settle for casual association with Jesus and miss out on the abundance and satisfaction and joy that He has designed for us. There’s a cost that comes to dull routine Christianity. Everything we do at VIVE is to move people forward in becoming real disciples of Jesus who become disciple-makers.
What is a Discipleship Group (D-Group)?
A D-Group is a gender-specific closed group (men discipling men and women discipling women) of no more than 3 to 5 at most believers (including the leader) who meet together weekly for one hour for 12 months for the purpose of accelerated spiritual transformation. The end goal is multiplication!!! At the end of the 12 months, your D-group will go and pray about leading their own D-Group and you will find 1-3 more people to disciple. A person joins a D-Group by invitation only.
While Connect Groups are essential in our lives, they exist for the purposes of community growth and doing life together. And they also have an underlying additional purpose (or they should have): evangelism. Connect Groups are a great place to meet life-long friends, share life together, and encourage one another in the Lord. Our Discipleship Groups, on the other hand, is the next important step in our spiritual formation that is essential in growing into mature followers of Jesus. D-Groups consists of believers who desire a deeper walk with Christ.
It is not evangelistic in its form or function, but in its fruit: it makes disciples who will then go on to make more disciples.
The format of a D-Group is deeply personal and relational. We believe this model is straight from the example of Jesus. A discipleship relationship is more personal, more practical, and more powerful. This blueprint, sketched by Jesus 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.
Our assignment isn't to just come and watch but come and go and make disciples. And building disciples is what makes VIVE come alive at our core! This is when it REALLY gets exciting. This is when we learn to become a disciple-maker.
How Do I Find A D-Group?
Making disciples in a D-Group is the third step on our Discipleship Pathway that you heard about in our DNA Class. It flows out of Connect Groups, which form out of our Weekend Gatherings. As people form friendships and bonds in Connect Groups and serve together, handfuls of them will prayerfully decide to take the next step and begin a discipleship journey together in a D-Group.
This is not just a hangout. This is an intense discipleship journey all about growing in our character and calling in Christ. If you would like to be in a D-Group, the first step on the pathway is to be faithful on Sundays, get committed to a Connect Group, and start serving on a team. If you are currently in a Connect Group and serving at VIVE and desire to be in a D-Group, talk to your Connect Group leader or Team Leader to take the next step.
How Do I Lead A D-Group?
The only absolute requirement for leading a D-Group is that you are planted at VIVE, part of VIVE team in serving others on the weekend, and 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.
If you already have 2-4 friends who want to start a D-Group, let one of your leaders know and we can make sure your group is set up to succeed. Our leadership team provides monthly encouragements and tips on how to get the most out of your D-Group. We have done our best to provide helpful resources that will remove the intimidation of leading.
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 who are living out the mission of Jesus. So yes, there is an attendance requirement! That is not negotiable. You have to explain the commitment to each person who will be part of your D-Group.
This commitment gives one another permission to help shape you, push you, love you forward, and hold you accountable in a loving way. You give them permission to be in your world not just on Sundays but have them in your living room, work out together, and disciple them as Jesus did. That is why we keep these groups very small so they can go deeper, the relationships are richer, and it allows more intentional focus on multiplication.
What Do D-Groups Look Like?
Again, there's not a one-size-fits-all, but there needs to be a similar blueprint on how our church is making disciples.
After you connect and catch up for a few minutes, it should always begin with prayer. And as time goes on, each one will learn how to pray out loud. Ask each participant to present one prayer request at the start of each meeting. Assign a person to pray over the requests, and ask the Lord to sharpen each of you through your relationship.
Here are some elements that your weekly meetings can include:
- Open with prayer.
- Have a time of intentional conversation by briefly sharing the highs and lows of the week. You can also share celebrations and praises.
- Talk about your memory verses for the week. We are commanded to hide the Word in our hearts.
- Study the Word of God together. The goal of studying the Bible is to apply the Word of God. Remember, knowledge without application is useless information.
- As time goes on, ask them what they need to grow in: Character/Calling. Do they know how to pray, how to study the Bible, do they understand the principle of tithing and kingdom giving, or do they know how to share their faith? These are things that want to help shape in people.
Here are some good application questions to utilize:
What are you hearing from God, and what are you doing about it?
What is God teaching you, and how is it affecting your life?
What are you struggling with?
What areas is God wanting you to grow in?
Is there a promise to claim?
Is there an action or attitude to avoid?
Is there a principle to apply?
Spend a few moments asking questions and keeping each other accountable. All accountability should be saturated with grace, not legalism. You can’t expect what you don’t inspect. Share prayer requests and close with prayer.