A church that wants to program for disciple-making needs to do at least these three things:
- Teach a biblical worldview (large groups)
- Teach and apply the content of the Bible to daily living, with general accountability (small groups [6-25 participants])
- Practice transparency and accountability that focuses on specific issues or behaviors in accountability groups (3-5 participants).
FIRST: teach a biblical worldview.
I posted on this Monday.
SECOND, teach and apply the content of the Bible to daily living.
I posted on this Tuesday.
THIRD, provide for transparency and accountability that focuses on specific issues or behaviors in accountability groups.
Accountability groups are very small groups (3-5 participants) who meet regularly (usually weekly) to share their daily struggles with absolute trust and transparency, and pray deeply for each other regarding those issues. These groups provide shepherding, spiritual mentoring. This is where iron sharpens iron.
The leaders of these groups should be trained to assess different levels of spiritual maturity; DiscipleShift/Real Life Ministries has great tools for this.
These groups should almost always be single-gender, men with men and women with women.
These groups must swear to confidentiality. If a person breaks confidentiality in any way, they are out of the group.
These groups are NOT Bible study, although the leader may bring biblical texts to bear as the Spirit prompts him/her. And the leader must model trust, vulnerability, and transparency about his/her own struggles.