This series of articles explores thirteen major methods that are effective for making disciples. Keep in mind that in a ubiquitous (all encompassing, everywhere present) disciple-making process, virtually each method is not only encouraged but is planned into the church ministries. Here is a list including links to articles that have been completed in the series:
- Simple Discipleship: A Comprehensive Disciple-Making Plan- The Simple Discipleship Virtual Book Tour- (updated) originally posted in 2010
- DISCIPLESHIP BEST PRACTICES: 13 Ways to Make Disciples
1. Passive Discipleship: the least effective method but essential to support other methods
2. Private Discipleship: the Christian and the Holy Spirit (most effective but under used)
3. Presence Discipleship: In times of crisis the disciple invests time, assistance, and prayer.
4. Participation or Proximity Discipleship: applies to all areas but most of all to giving
5. Projected Discipleship: Actively but humbly projecting a Christian example of living Christ’s teachings.
7. Program Discipleship: Pre-packaged materials delivered in large or small groups.
8. Personal Discipleship: One-on-one discipleship (very effective but seldom used)
9. Peer Group Discipleship: Bible study and Sunday School
10. Practical Discipleship: Hands on service, evangelism, and missional projects
11. Proficiency Discipleship: Leadership Development
12. Proclamation Discipleship: Evangelism and preaching to unchurched
13. Process Discipleship: All of the above delivered in a systematic way
Evaluate how you and your church are doing in the 13 methods of discipleship: Copy of 13 Ways to Make Disciples_Evaluation
WHAT IS PEER GROUP DISCIPLESHIP?
The previous article in this series was about “Personal Discipleship,” also known as one-to-one discipleship. The present article is about “Peer Group Discipleship,” also known as small group discipleship and it is one of the most effective methods when done well. Encarta Dictionary defines “peer” as someone who is equal to another in age or social class. Churches have done well at making disciples using peer groups called Sunday school classes or small groups. They tend to be natural groupings based on a number of demographic, social, and spiritual commonalities. The things they have in common functions as the “glue” for an ongoing community relationship. The positive effect of psychosocial development and interaction in peer groups has been well documented in recent years. However, the benefits of spiritual growth compound the overall growth and development of the group as a supportive community.
Peer group discipleship engages the class in interaction, reflection, evaluation, and an assessment of values. People today inside and outside the church experience an ever increasing level of dysfunction. Discipleship peer groups lead people deeper in their relationships with Christ and with one another. The effectively learn to love one another and as a result they become a faith community within the church. A healthy church of any size should have healthy or holistic small groups.
PEER GROUP DISCIPLESHIP IS INTENTIONAL
Simply forming Sunday school classes and small group Bible study units does not automatically qualify as peer group discipleship. There are many examples of teachers of Sunday school classes and small groups who show up to impress their groups with their insights into Scripture but have no clue about how to make disciple-making disciples. Many think their job is to teach the Bible but their job should be—make disciples. A group leader with the perspective of making disciples connects with people and creates community. A disciple-making peer group leader is infective! It is sad to say that many classes and groups will meet this week and the group could just as well push a button on a CD/MP3 player for their weekly lesson. Jesus taught with passion, examples, Biblical authority, and love. Effective peer group discipleship does what Jesus did.
10 BENEFITS OF PEER GROUP DISCIPLESHIP
Peer group discipleship has many benefits and here are ten:
- Members of peer group classes disciple one another as they share Bible knowledge, insights, and application points.
- An excellent facilitator guides the Bible study and discussion in a manner that engages the entire group.
- Provides a visual and living illustration of three-way reconciliation (forgiveness from God, forgiveness of self, and forgiveness of others).
- Demonstrates Christian unity (all for one and one for all).
- Encourages perpetual spiritual growth as less spiritually mature interact with those more spiritually mature.
- Provides social relationships in the church context as well as outside the church in the community.
- Provides social stability for those within the group as they interact to meet needs and love one another.
- Teaches the roles of each as related to the identification and use of spiritual gifts and natural talents.
- The group culture encourages chosen accountability as related to Christian behavior.
- Groups collectively form a healthy church and provide for the overall needs for ministry.
Can you think of more benefits of peer group discipleship? Please share them in the comments section.
Dr. Tom Cocklereece, The Disciplist
1. Ten benefits of peer group discipleship are listed. Can you share some more?
2. Could your small group leader easily be replaced by a CD/MP3 player and hardly miss the leader?
3. Is disciple-making the focus of your Sunday school and small group Bible study units?
Dr. Tom Cocklereece is CEO of RENOVA Coaching and Consulting, LLC
Author “Simple Discipleship,” contributing writer L2L Blogazine
He is a pastor, an author, professional coach, and leadership specialist
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THE LAWS OF DISCIPLESHIP
THE LAWS OF DISCIPLESHIP PROJECTBe a part of The Laws of Discipleship Project! Each law of discipleship reflects the light of Christ like a facet of a diamond. Tom Cocklereece is currently writing the manuscript for this upcoming discipleship resource. You are invited to participate. If you are interested, email tom@ simplediscipleship.com
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