Being a disciple means we are continually helping others move towards greater joy and dependence in Christ. Disciples make disciples by pointing others to Jesus and our need for daily reliance on Him as well as building relationships with unbelievers.
In small groups, you disciple one another as you encourage each other in your relationship with Jesus. Discipling happens anywhere believers gather together. One-on-one relationships are often the most effective way to be discipled because it is where we can more readily talk about Jesus on a heart level. Making disciples also includes sharing Jesus with unbelievers. This is not reserved for the pastor, missionary, or person gifted with evangelism.
In Matthew 28:19, Jesus calls all believers to go and make disciples. It is something we should all be doing. All of us should have someone who is discipling us. And all of us should be discipling at least one person. Effective discipling is more about relationship than a program that a church runs. The idea of discipling someone can feel overwhelming. Our desire is that this resource would help equip you to disciple others. Check out the On Your Own section for ideas on how to disciple one-on-one.
With Your Small Group
2. TouchPoint: use these questions before, during, and after working through this trait to help your group have conversations about how you’re growing together as disciples of Jesus:
- How are you pointing each other to Jesus in your study time together and in your casual conversations?
- How can your group make sure regular and personal care is given to each member of the group based on his or her needs and personality?
3. Choose one of these Bible studies or books:
- Gospel 101: Learning, Living, and Sharing the Gospel by Jeff Dodge. (8-session Bible study; homework preparation required.)
- Gospel Identity: this study focuses on the transformation of Christians by the power of the Gospel. (10-session Bible study with leader guide; homework preparation recommended but not required.)
- Gospel Growth (10-session Bible study with leader guide; homework preparation recommended but not required.)
- Sonship This is an intensive Bible study for groups that are well established and familiar with one another. (16-session Bible study; homework required including companion audio lectures.)
- A Meal with Jesus by Tim Chester. Discover how the ordinary act of sharing a meal is really an opportunity for grace, community, and mission. (144 pages, reading homework required.)
- The 2:7 Series is a great curriculum for people who are seeking to get grounded in the fundamentals of walking with Jesus. There are three books designed to be completed in sequence. (Each book is an 11-session Bible study; one hour homework prep required for each session.) Free online group leader training available at nav27series.org.
- The Book of Ephesians on RightNow Media by JD Greear. This study walks through the powerful words of the Apostle Paul verse-by-verse and challenges believers to live out the Gospel. (9 sessions of 10-14 minute videos; free downloadable leader guide and participant handouts; no homework.)
Is your group looking to connect more between meetings?
Use the YouVersion Bible app to connect as a group outside your regular meeting times. The Bible app has many different reading plans designed to take you through the Bible in a year, or a single book over the course of a few weeks, or through select Scriptures on a specific topic. Many of the reading plans also include a short devotional to unpack the Scripture a little and challenge you with questions to think about as you read. When you start a new plan, choose the option of reading it “With Friends,” and the app will walk you through inviting others to join you. Get to know each other better and be encouraged by doing a reading plan together. We recommend: Dinner with Jesus
On Your Own
“The Bible makes no real distinction between a Christian and a disciple-maker. Even though much of our population still claims to be Christian, disciple-makers are rare. Modern Christianity has indoctrinated many to see disciple-making as an option rather than the way that Jesus taught us.”—Joel Littlefield, Jesus Was A Disciple Maker, What About You?
Guidance for One-on-One Discipling
- One-on-one discipling begins with sharing life together…getting to know each other sharing a meal or a beverage together. But of course, it begins before that doesn’t it? It begins with figuring out who you could disciple or who could disciple you. Another option is a disicipling relationship between two people who seem to be at the same place spiritually. Begin with prayer, asking God to show you a good fit and the right opportunity. When we are willing, God will open opportunities! The next step is making the invitation! If you would like to talk through some possibilities, please contact James Madsen, Pastor of Discipleship, or Deb Carlson, Discipleship Program Associate.
- We firmly believe discipling is more effective if you are working through a study together. While it might be helpful to just get to know each other for a session or two, discipling tends to become purely social or a time to complain if we are not directed by appropriate discipling material.
- For a list of study suggestions, check the Small Group tab.
Ideas for Growing as a Disciple Maker
We recommend several resources from Serge, a Christ-centered grace based ministry committed to Gospel renewal and mission.
- Serge offers webinars on topics like the art of listening, sharing your faith, dealing with anxiety, and more.
- Discipleship Lab is the best class we know on learning to be a disciple maker. It is done online with a cohort of others seeking to become better equipped as disciple makers.
- Use the YouVersion Bible app to stay connected in a consistent way with the Bible. The app has many different reading plans and short devotionals designed to help you consistently read and engage with Scripture. We recommend this devotional which shares tips on integrating Christ into your personal life, family, church, or work.
Tools for Sharing Our Faith
The idea of sharing our faith in Jesus can feel overwhelming and even scary. It begins with really believing that Jesus is good news for our own lives. If we believe that in our heart, talking about Jesus comes more naturally. The next step is building relationships with people who are not yet believers.
Resources for how to build relationships:
- The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield: equips Christians to use their homes as a means to showing our world what authentic love and faith really look like.
- Connect with Your Neighbors: ideas for getting to know your neighbors
Resources for how to share your faith in everyday life:
- True Story: A Christianity Worth Believing In by James Choung
- Get Real: Sharing Your Everyday Faith Every Day by John Leonard
- Telling Your Story With Jesus As The Hero
- exploregod.com: extensive website with answers to many tough questions that cause people to doubt or question the relevance of Christianity.
Foundational verses provide the biblical basis for each character trait. Read through these verses together as a group when you first begin exploring this trait. You might also consider memorizing one of the verses together.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”—Matthew 28:19-20
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”—Mark 1:17
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”—Acts 1:8
“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”—Colossians 4:5-6
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”—1 Peter 3:15
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”—1 Thessalonians 5:11