Discipleship is an important process for every believer that provides community, deep friendships, an environment for accountability, and most importantly, it cultivates a life rooted deeply in God’s Word. The third step in our intentional disciple-making process at First Baptist Jackson is Imitate. This is where we go deeper into looking more like Christ. One of those ways is through our D•Groups. A D•Group is gender-specific, closed group of 3-5 believers who meet regularly each week for the purpose of accelerated spiritual transformation.
Are you ready to join a D•Group? If you want to join a D•Group, talk with your Sunday School teacher or Community Group leader about getting started, or use the button below to contact Bruce Warf.
WHAT IS A D•GROUP?
A D•Group is a closed group, rather than an open group. Sunday School/Community Groups and Bible studies are open groups; that is, they are open to anyone and everyone who would like to attend. A D•Group is, by design, closed to a handful of people. A person joins the group by invitation only. The recommend size is 3-5 people of the same gender (including the leader).
The purpose of a D•Group is completely different. While Sunday School, Community Groups, and Bible studies exist for the purposes of growth and fellowship, they have an underlying additional purpose: evangelism. Community Groups are designed to reach lost people by getting them involved in the group. A D•Group, in contrast, 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 then make disciples.
The setting of the D•Group is completely different. It is the shift from a lecture atmosphere with one teacher facilitating a discussion of a room full of students to an intimate, accountable relationship with a handful of like-minded people. 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 a growth in their personal lives, as well as in the Kingdom: community, accountability, and multiplication.
The resources we use for D•Groups are the Bible and the book Growing Up by Robby Gallaty and his Replicate Ministries. You can purchase a book at the Welcome Center for $10. For more information, visit: replicate.org/growingupchallenge.
A D•Group is gender-specific closed group of three to vie believers (including the leader) who meet together weekly for the purpose of accelerated spiritual transformation. A person joins the D•Group by invitation only.
While Life Groups exist for the purposes of community growth and fellowship, they have an underlying additional purpose (or they should have): evangelism. Sunday School/Community Groups are designed to reach lost people by getting them involved in the group. A D•Group, on the other hand, 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 not one of a teacher-student, but a roundtable discussion. In their book The Invested Life, Joel Rosenberg and T.E. Koshy suggest that a discipleship relationship is “more personal, more practical, and more powerful. 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.
Making disciples in a D•Group is the third step on the intentional disciple-making process because it flows out Sunday School and Community Groups. Sunday School and Community Groups, which form out of the Worship Gathering, are the “fishing ponds” for D•Groups. As people form friendships and bonds in Community Groups, handfuls of them will decide to take the next step and begin a discipleship journey together in a D•Group.
If you would like to be in a D•Group, the first step towards discipleship is to join a Sunday School Class or Community Group. If you are currently in a Sunday School class or Community Croup and desire to be in a D-Group, talk to your Group leader.
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.
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.’”
Because accountability works well in a smaller setting, the ideal size of a disciple-making group is three to five people – you and two to four other people. We recommend that you do not have more than five, and remember that a one-on-one relationship is not ideal.
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.
Ideally, you should meet once a week for about an hour.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.
Here are some elements that your weekly meetings can include:
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.
Group members will memorize Scripture if you hold them accountable through reciting verses to one another at every meeting. Chapter 8 of Growing Up by Robby Gallaty contains a thorough explanation and a practical system for Scripture memorization.
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.