Discipleship Groups are small, simple groups of 2-3 men or women who meet regularly to help one another fight sin and grow in grace. They are biblical and missional following the pattern of Text-Theology-Life. They are for people that may not call themselves disciples of Jesus and disciples who are making disciples. Our hope is to have more people worship Jesus, more people know him deeper, and more people living as missionaries in Fort Worth or wherever God has called them.
Recentering Your Discipleship
Ever feel like you are motivated more by duty than joy in following Jesus? Have you noticed a subtle cynicism or indifference in your faith? If so, you’re probably falling into the trap of putting rules in the center of your relationship with God. Some of us like to keep the rules (Spiritual Peformance); others tend towards breaking the rules (Spiritual License). We all lean one direction or the other–towards breaking the rules or keeping them.
God took the rules out of the middle when he gave us the gospel. The gospel of grace frees us from rule-keep and rule-breaking, releasing us into a grace-based relationship with God. At The Paradox Church, we advocate this gospel-centered, not rule-centered, discipleship. Discipleship Groups are a way to guide gospel-centered discipleship so we can nurture grace in community as we follow Jesus.
Text: A Discipleship Group agrees to focus on a common biblical text. Each person in the group commits to devotionally read the same passage or chapter from a book of the Bible each week. For example, your group could read through Colossians in four weeks. As you read, make a point of asking the Holy Spirit to draw your attention to whatever He wants you to know. The Spirit may be prompting you repent of a sin, rejoice in a promise or meditate on an insight. Each week when you get together, make the text your initial focus.
Theology: Work through the verses in community, trying to follow the flow of the author. From there, try to understand the central theological message of the chapter. Be sure you ask the question: “How does the person and work of Jesus inform this text?” Strive to be Christ-centered, not application-centered. Jesus is sufficient for our failures and strong for our successes.
Life: This is followed by bringing in your personal struggles and successes from your devotional reading. Be sure to allow plenty of time for this. Share your lives; promote godly accountability and faithful prayer. Finally, be sure to share the names of people whom you are trying to bless with the gospel. Pray as a group, asking God to help you trust His promises, as well as asking Him to give unbelievers the same gift of faith.
How to Start a Discipleship Group
Gospel-Centered Discipleship by Jonathan Dodson provides a theology and a strategy to fight sin as the church: small, gospel-centered, fighting communities called Discipleship Groups. These communities are shaped by three rules: 1) Know your Sin. 2) Fight your Sin. 3) Trust your Savior. Read a series of free articles to find out more:
Here are a few guidelines for starting a Discipleship Group.
Discipleship Groups are relationally driven, so pick people you can trust. We recommend people in your City Group because you are a family of disciples on mission. Establish an agreed upon level of confidentiality within your group. Make a commitment to one another. Discipleship Groups of uncommitted people simply don’t promote gospel-centered fighting. Don’t wait around to get started; you’re missing God’s grace! If you need some help getting connected to a Discipleship Group please ask your City Group Leader or email Ryan Keeney.
Read the Book
People who don’t read Gospel-Centered Discipleship, especially chapters 2 through 5, don’t fight well. They end up bullies who promote legalism or wimps who promote license. Reading the book will get you on the same gospel page, so you can fight sin by God’s grace! We recommend discussing portions of the book in your first meeting, especially chapters 3 and 5.
Set a Regular Meeting Time
One of the first things you should do is sync your calendars for a regular meeting time.If you don’t schedule a regular meeting time, you won’t meet regularly. Meet once a week or every other week. Allow at least an hour.
True repentance leads to rejoicing. Our lives should be marked by celebration as we behold our King Jesus. A life worshipping Jesus is a fight but we should revel in who he is and what he has done on our behalf not navel-gazers who despair because we are so self-involved we don’t see our Redeemer.