In our local churches, we have a lot of different types of groups. Our biggest group is the congregation as a whole that meets together in worship services and other churchwide activities.
Many of us are in ongoing community-type groups as well. These focus on doing life together and may have a Bible study focus. These groups include strong relationships that continue year round.
Then we have our core or discipleship groups. These have a strong focus on God’s Word, knowing and applying it, and producing from this group disciples who then produce more disciples. These groups tend to be smaller (perhaps only 3-5 people). They might meet for 1-2 years, working toward specific discipleship goals for growth. The idea is after this time period, the 3-5 are expected to then take 3-5 others to do the same thing.
All of these groups are indispensable to women in the church. Some of us may be involved in more than one of these groups at a time.
So how do you know who to invest in at this deepest level? Watch the women in your current small group. Who is diving deeper into Scripture and growing spiritually? Who is asking for more and living it out? Who is volunteering to serve when you present needs? Find just a few—maybe even one or two—and talk to them about being a part of an even smaller discipleship group experience for the next year or so with the intention that they in turn will take another group through what they learn.
According to www.replicateminsitries.org, here are some MARCS of healthy discipleship groups:
Missional. Women who are in your small group are actively living out the gospel.
Accountable. We must inspect what we are teaching women to see if they are getting it.
Reproducible. This is when the mentee becomes a mentor of others.
Communal. Participation is essential if your group members are going to learn from, care for, and pour into each other.
Scriptural. The Bible is the text you continually go to for answers to life. It is what women emulate as they live out what they are learning.
So, how does your small group measure up according to this criteria?
We will continue delving into this topic in upcoming posts in this series.