"Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.”
- Pastor and Theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer
To put it simply, a disciple is a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ. Discipleship, or disciple-making, is a transformational process by which one becomes His disciple. A disciple is not merely someone who knows a lot about Jesus, it is someone who lives like they know and love Jesus.
Why does any of this matter? Jesus commissioned His followers (disciples) to make more disciples. Every believer has the responsibility to be a disciple and to participate in disciple-making. There are no magic formulas for discipleship but in light of Christ’s commission it certainly requires intentionality on our part.
Because the Bible is the centerpiece of our disciple-making efforts,
we have adopted an integrated approach that involves
engaging scripture in three different contexts.
1. BIBLE READING PLAN
The first context for engaging scripture is our weekly Bible reading plan where we take it upon ourselves to explore the passage and consider its application to our lives. We do this in advance of our Sunday gathering where the same passage we've been reading is the basis of the talk.
2. SUNDAY TALKS
The second context for engaging scripture is our Sunday gatherings where we hear the Word of God preached. Our Sunday talks build upon the foundation laid by the weekly Bible reading plan and help us by providing a theological framework for understanding the passage so that we can know more about God and His plan for us.
3. DISCIPLESHIP GROUPS
The third context for engaging scripture is gender-specific Discipleship Groups of no more than four people. This is a relational context where the personal study of God's Word and the preaching from the previous Sunday together fuel discussion about how we should respond to what God has been revealing to us.
questions & answers
Q - What is discipleship?
Discipleship is the ongoing process of becoming more like Christ through the regular examination and application of the scriptures. At Collective Church, it involves the integrated approach described above. It is a process that does not happen in isolation but involves others by God's design.
Q - What is a Discipleship Group at Collective Church?
While we are thrilled to see Christians encouraging one another in any form, Discipleship Groups at Collective Church are specifically those groups that follow our methodology and are part of our integrated approach to discipleship as explained above. Our Discipleship Groups are actually just one-third of the process as they meet weekly at a time of their own choosing to discuss and apply the talk from the previous Sunday and the bible reading plan it was based on. Our Discipleship Groups are gender-specific small groups of up to 4 people that have committed to help one another grow spiritually and live out their faith.
Q - How do Discipleship Groups form and/or how do I find one?
Discipleship Groups form as people relationally connect and decide to commit to the process together. One way to meet others is through a Neighborhood Dinner. As you connect with people, consider how their life rhythms, work schedules, neighborhood of residence, line up with yours. You might join a Discipleship Group that already exists or form a new group with others.
Q - Why doesn't the church get more involved in creating the groups?
It’s really easy for well-meaning discipleship efforts to become bogged down in complexity. On a fundamental level, Discipleship Groups are simply about people committing to help one another grow spiritually. We don’t believe in micro-managing the process or "arranging marriages," so to speak, but we’re available to provide assistance when needed.
Q - Why aren't Discipleship Groups larger than 4 people?
By keeping the size of the group small, there are fewer schedules to coordinate between the members of the group, introverts are more likely to participate, and it ensures everyone gets a chance to fully engage within the allotted time that the group meets.
Q - What happens when people come together as a Discipleship Group?
Members of the Discipleship Group share how God has been encouraging, convicting, challenging, and comforting them through the Bible reading plan and the previous Sunday’s talk. An emphasis is placed on discovering what obedience looks like and how we might actually live out our faith. There will also be time spent in prayer with and for one another. Our desire is that these groups be transformational and that people grow in Christ-likeness.
Q - Who leads the Discipleship Groups?
There is no designated leader of the group, so rather than being leader-driven, the group is driven by the commitment each member makes to help the others grow. This shared commitment will keep the group on track with built-in accountability.
Q - What if the age and spiritual maturity of everyone in the Discipleship Group is about the same?
The normative disciple-making process at Collective Church isn't about more mature or experienced Christians taking less mature and inexperienced Christians under their wings. We're seeking to take the focus off of what can sometimes become very man-centered and instead trusting the Holy Spirit to empower and enable each of us to edify and encourage one another in our relationship with Jesus. In this “one another” approach to disciple-making, we believe that anyone who has the Spirit of God living inside of them has the capacity to encourage others to live for Jesus. We believe, and have seen, that newer believers can contribute as much as those who have known Jesus for a long time.
Q - What if I’m in a Discipleship Group that has 4 people and is therefore already "full?"
Prepare to spin off a new group. Discipleship Groups can’t be closed off to others. We must always be ready and willing to create opportunities for others to enter into the disciple-making process because we care deeply about the spiritual well-being of one another. If a group already has four people, the fifth person that joins the group becomes the catalyst for the group becoming two separate groups. Between these two groups there is now space for three more people to participate in the disciple-making process with others.
Q - What do I do if I’m having trouble finding a Discipleship Group to be a part of?
Let us help you. Contact us.