Discipline is just about my least favorite word in the dictionary. The word reminds me of doing homework, going to the gym regularly, or saving money for retirement. None of these things are much fun today, but each one has a huge payback tomorrow, doesn't it?
We each have private spiritual disciplines we should practice (simplicity, meditation, solitude, prayer, service, fasting, study, stewardship, evangelism, etc.). As a small group, there are spiritual disciplines members should practice together in order to enjoy what God only gives teams of Christians who meet in His Son's name.
For a collection of believers to become that team, they must make two important connections. Connecting with Christ in a multi-person organism is the first step. Each member of a small group must be diligent to enter into a relationship with Christ that is not just private, but one that is shared with a handful of other believers who have been adopted as family. The second step, which is often more difficult, is to extend that Christ-centered group relationship to the lost—people with whom we may not think we have anything in common or who simply do not believe (or don't care) that Jesus died for their sins. These two connections are the main spiritual disciplines out of which a group's health and mission flow.
However, in the frenetic, individualistic society in which we live, both of these disciplines will be impossible to achieve and sustain without a healthy dose of transformation. We all slip back into old patterns of isolation and/or busyness when things get tough. For permanent change to occur, these two disciplines must provide an environment where your group members will be transformed into the likeness of Christ by His Spirit ...