When Discipleship Opportunities Are Few, Make Your Own

When Discipleship Opportunities Are Few, Make Your Own

One woman’s burden for discipleship led to a Bible study for women who crave depth.

With tears in his eyes, he pulled me aside. My friend's new husband stepped off the dance floor at their wedding reception to tell me something that just couldn't wait. He must've seen the concern on my face—my brow furrowed and mouth agape.

"There's no need to be alarmed," he said. "I just wanted to tell you: Please keep doing D-Group forever. None of this would've happened without D-Group. It's the tool God used to make her into the woman she is today, a woman whose heart is fully after Him, who knows Him better, who will be a better wife to me and mother to our future children than she would have without it. The impact of what she is learning in D-Group will echo for generations."

His sentiments have been reiterated dozens of times by different people over the years. They're true for me, too. I would not have grown in the knowledge, grace, and love of God if it weren't for this two-hour weekly investment. I can't think of a better way to steward my heart than to continue seeking God alongside the women of D-Group.

The Start of a Movement

The most common complaint I hear at large churches is that they're too big to build community, and they don't go deep enough. It's easy to feel lost in a spiritual world that's an inch deep and a mile wide.

When I moved to a new state and joined a large church, I felt a burden for discipleship. Hundreds of new Christ-followers were joining us each month. How would all of these new believers learn what it means to walk with Christ? Who would teach them the basics? Who would challenge them to go deeper?

God gently reminded me that I was supposed to be the church by stepping into the needs that burden me. I felt burdened to reverse the inch deep, mile wide situation. I wanted to find an inch-wide group of friends with whom I could grow a mile deep.

Though I barely knew anyone at the church, I contacted one of the staff members about starting an intensive Bible study to disciple women. She agreed to send out an e-mail to her friends, asking if any of them wanted to join. Within a month, I launched our first Discipleship Group (D-Group).

Our first meeting had nine women—all strangers to me except for one. It grew quickly, so we multiplied into two groups. A year later, we had four groups with nearly 40 women. Today, six years after that first D-Group began, we have 50 groups in 15 states with roughly 400 people involved. More than 1,000 people have been in a D-Group, and three members of that original group are still involved.

An Intentional Structure

The D-Groups of today are hardly recognizable as the same thing that began in that living room six years ago, but our purpose is the same: discipleship. To ensure that all D-Group members have a consistent experience, all 50 D-Groups use the same curriculum and follow the same meeting structure for the weekly two-hour meetings.

Scripture Memorization
D-Groups meet in homes, and each meeting begins with the members individually reciting the memory verses learned that week. We memorize chunks of Scripture at a pace of 1-2 verses per week, and we recite them cumulatively. Last month we memorized all of Romans 8. Scripture memorization is a new discipline for many of the women involved in D-Groups. To help them learn the Scripture faster and retain it longer, I write and record a short song for the memory verse. Group members can listen to the song as they learn the memory verses.

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