Intentional Accountable Relationships Around the Word
What is a D-group?
An effective discipleship strategy is not based on a curriculum or program. Effective discipleship strategies are based on intentional relationships, centered around the Word of God, with the purpose of seeing every person mature in Christ (Col. 1:28).
A note from Pastor Jason:
Over the past couple of years my heart has stirred toward discipleship in a way that has impacted my life greatly. Through many different ways the Lord has clearly spoken to me, to our staff, to our deacons, and to our church all pointing toward the same call: to be a people that make disciples who make disciples. After a time of repenting before the Lord for the lack of effective intentional discipling relationships in my life, spending much time in prayer and Scripture, reading multiple books, and while taking a discipleship class at Liberty, I began to meet with our deacons and other groups about how we could more effectively make disciples in our setting. One thing was clear through all these studies and books: an effective discipleship strategy is not based on a curriculum or program. Effective discipleship strategies are based on intentional relationships around the Word of God that have a purpose of seeing every person mature in Christ (Col. 1:28).
As we studied and examined characteristics of a mature disciple in these group settings, it was evident that our strategy to make disciples needed to have a focus of forming spiritual disciplines in the life of every believer. Mature disciples regularly read the Word, meditate on the Word, and memorize the Word. They pray for one another and the lost living life on mission for God’s glory. With this thought, our heart is that the people of Cowee would engage in the scriptures in a greater way than ever before. The Church Wide Bible reading plans are a great tool that is part of that plan.. We encourage you to join with us in reading the scriptures together, but not simply reading them, engaging in them. According to Paul Caminiti, senior director of mobilization with the Institute for Bible Reading, Scripture engagement is about immersing ourselves in the Bible. We were meant to marinate in the Word, soaking it in. A suggested method of engaging this way is listed below in the HEAR Journal tab.
Consider forming or being part of a Cowee D-Group, where groups of 3 to 6 people of the same gender meet weekly, and intentionally, for the purpose of becoming disciples who make disciples. A group simply follows the same Bible reading plan and meets together weekly at a set time that works for the group. This might be as simple as gathering each week to meet for coffee or a meal. The focus of the meeting is around three things: Scripture, accountability, and prayer. As groups meet weekly to discuss the previous weeks reading, it naturally creates an environment of accountability to read and marinate on the Scriptures. Hebrews 10:24 speaks of “stimulating one another to good works,” and we have found a setting like this lends itself naturally to this. The beauty of the group is in the combination of its simplicity and effectiveness. Existing groups have been effective creating lasting relationships and have resulted in significantly increased Bible engagement in the people involved. A Cowee D-Group begins with the end in mind and meets for around a year, then intentionally multiplies, bringing other believers into the newly formed groups causing exponential growth to take place. Prayerfully walk in obedience as you dig into God’s Word, individually and together. We have all the tools you need prepared and are anxious to equip you to lead a group like this if the Holy Spirit leads you that direction. Visit coweebaptist.org/disciple for more information on being part of one of these groups.
One very simple tool that can greatly impact our Bible engagement is keeping a journal each day as you read. This was incredibly impactful to me when I surrendered my life to Christ and began to dig into God’s Word. I still have those little books by my bed, and the notes in them are a treasure to me. This year in reading about some different discipleship strategies, I was exposed to the H.E.A.R. method. This method is very simple, and is a great place to start in deepening your walk with Christ. All you need is a notebook, some paper, or an electronic method (smartphone, computer, etc.) and you are ready to go. Here’s how it works:
For each day’s reading, you are looking for the Scripture that stands out that day, maybe places the Holy Spirit stirs your heart. Write this Scripture verse down. This is the H, which stands for Highlight. You are highlighting on your page what the Spirit is highlighting in your heart.
Next, take a few moments to think deeply about that Scripture, and then write down your observations. These may include questions. This is the E, which stands for Explain. Using your own words, explain what this Scripture means.
Next, ask yourself how this Scripture applies to your life. What is the Lord saying to you through this passage? This is the A, which stands for Application. What might this scripture be calling you to do?
Finally, what are you going to do as a result of what God is saying to you through this Scripture? This is the R, which stands for Respond.
Highlight, Explain, Apply, Respond. These simple steps will help you to engage in the scripture in a deeper way ( A sample H.E.A.R. Journal is shown below). In addition to engaging in the scriptures through journaling, reading the scriptures and then connecting in community with other believers intentionally will make a significant impact on spiritual growth. There are some great tools to help with this process, but gathering weekly in an intentional disciple making environment may make the most impact.
Sample H.E.A.R. Journal Entry (Journal sample taken from Robby Gallaty’s book, Growing Up)
Date: October 2, 2019 | Read: Philippians 4.10-13
H (Highlight) – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4.13)
E (Explain) – Paul was telling the church at Philippi that he had discovered the secret of contentment. No matter what the situation in Paul’s life, he realized Christ was all he needed, and Christ was the One who strengthened him or helped him persevere through difficult times.
A (Apply) – In my life, I will experience many ups and downs. My contentment is not found in circumstances. Rather, it is based upon my relationship with Christ. Only Jesus gives me the strength I need to be content in every circumstance in life.
R (Respond) – Lord, please help me as I strive to be content in You. Through Your strength, I can make it through any situation I will face today.
- Form a group of 3 to 5 people. This is a specific group size, ideal for the phygital environment. A same-gender group is best. Hold the formation meeting in person, with social distancing protocols in place, and establish a group agreement.
- Meet weekly online. The regularity of the meeting is important (for relationships and spiritual formation) and, if you are careful to keep it to one hour, it is not too difficult. One men’s group in an article I saw met every Tuesday night. They helped get their kids in bed and then easily joined the group without the loss of work and travel time during the day.
- Meet monthly in person. As a part of your holistic model, meet in person. In the monthly meeting, it is just the 3-5 easily distanced somewhere? . Maybe they serve somewhere or break bread etc??
D Harmony (Need Help Connecting to a Group)
Many times a D-group may be formed out of existing relationships, but sometimes you need a little help connecting a group of believers together. If we can help form or connect you in a Cowee D-group, please let us know. Please include in the message your interest of physical, or phygital group as well as anything that might be helpful for use to know.
If you have general questions, feel free to submit the contact form below.