As small group leaders, we need to regularly remind ourselves that more than anything else, we want to be growing disciples. We want to see people constantly being formed to look more like Jesus.
I picked up these five easy steps to discipleship from Eddie Moseley's blog. If nothing else, these are good reminders of the types of things we want to be thinking about as we lead our groups.
1. Identify: prayerfully identify five people God is leading you to disciple; (help become more like Christ tomorrow than they are today.) You know God is also working in their lives to prepare them, so why not ask Him who you are supposed to be walking with?2. Enlist: Talk with each of the five individually and invite them to be part of your group. Clearly explain what is expected. When I asked men to join my group I also clearly explained that this was a weekly meeting for an hour, daily reading from the Bible and a manual and they would be asked to repeat this process with 5 people in the next six months. A couple of them were very hesitant to respond, which led me to allow them to not participate. The five I am meeting with (2 car salesmen, 1 police officer, 1 shoe salesman, 1 rock star) immediately said ‘Yes, count me in’ which told me they were feeling the need to be committed.3. Meet: Spend the next Xnumber of weeks meeting, discussing, challenging, praying, learning, reading, growing, etc. We meet for a planned one hour a week, same time, day and location each week. However, we also allow God to continue the meeting or conversation as long and as often as He chooses.4.Grow: Listen as your group shares what God is doing in their lives and share what He is doing in your life right now. Over the course of these weeks make notes of issues, prayer requests, challenges, fears…watch (and share) what God is doing in and through the stories. Point out the growth of each other as celebration of what God is doing. Did I mention “listen”? This is very important when helping people grow as a disciple. It is not allow about bestowing knowledge to them, but about hearing how God is growing them. Dallas Willard in The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’s Essential Teachings on Discipleship gives a wonderful definition of a disciple: “A disciple is a learner, a student, an apprentice—a practitioner, even if only a beginner. … Disciples of Jesus are people who do not just profess certain views as their own but apply their growing understanding of life in the Kingdom of the Heavens to every aspect of their life on earth.”5. Challenge: Each week I challenge our group to ‘watch for God at work and join Him’ (Experiencing God) . Each week I also explain how they will be asked to lead 5 through this material in the next 6 months. We are not meeting/walking through this growth for ourselves, but as Luke 6 shows us, for those around us. Then is what it means to be a true disciple, when we use our energy, resources, life to make disciples.