The Context of Discipleship: Small Groups
A personal commitment to meeting regularly with a small group and/or with individuals for the purpose of spiritual development is always worth the investment of time and effort. Both one-on-one and small group discipleship can be done on a basic or more advanced level, but in every case, the relational component should be as central as the content. We should never minimize the incarnational dynamic of nurturing spirituality. The equipping dynamic of teaching and training can include everything from apologetics to leadership training, but the discipleship process works best when exposing, equipping, and encouraging/exhorting all function in synchrony.
In The Disciplemaker: A Reference for Mentors, John Musselman advocates five elements of group life: (1) accountability questions (personal life, family life, and corporate life), (2) spiritual disciplines (worship, quiet time, prayer life, Bible study, Scripture memory, and witnessing), (3) Bible study/discussion, (4) sharing together (good news/victories,temptations/defeats, prayer requests, and general information), and (5) prayer. Notice that the equipping component of discipleship (Bible study/discussion) is flanked by the being/character/heart component of discipleship. Normally, more time is devoted to Bible study and discussion than to any of the other elements, but all of them contribute to the optimal effectiveness of the group.
In both small group and one-on-one discipleship, our vision should be to bring apprentices to the point where they are willing and able to do the same thing in the lives of others.
Taken from Ken Boa’s Handbook to Spiritual Growth
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