Jesus gave us a challenge: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19.20) “Teaching all things” certainly implies more than leading people to Jesus and baptizing them. It is also about nurturing believers and training them for service. The ultimate goal is that they become growing disciples of Jesus and in turn are prepared to lead others into discipleship with Christ. Discipleship is a process that can be described as five stages:
It is important to help our church members to grow in their discipleship. We want them
- to have a vibrant relationship with Jesus
- share Jesus in a winsome way in their everyday lives
- give Bible studies
- lead caregroups in which their friends find Jesus
- lead prayer groups
- lead ministry groups
How do we get there? How can we best train our church members to have this in experience? There are certainly many ways but a very effecitve way are discipleship groups. For the sake a clarity, let me define the terms:
- Discipleship groups are closed small groups for church members that meet for a limited number of weeks or months in order to be spiritually nurtured and grounded as well as trained and equipped for personal evangelism and small group leadership.
- Caregroups are open, mission-focussed, fellowship-orientated small groups that are always open for new guests. They create an environment that makes it easy to get to know and experience Jesus and grow in one´s faith. The Bible study is simple and focuses on life application. The meetings usually start with a meal.
- Personal Bible studies usually take place in a small settings with 1-3 people in which the message of the Bible is systematically studied in order to help people get to know the Bible and lead them to baptism.
- Prayer groups are small groups in which member regularly come together to pray earnestly.
- Ministry groups are teams that meet to address specific needs in the in the church and in the community, e.g. health ministry, pathfinders, social projects, etc.
Discipleship groups are training groups to equip our church members to start, lead and multiply caregroups, prayer groups and ministry groups as well as give personal Bible studies. Please read the Training Manual to learn more about this concept.