While a Life Group’s main purpose is to meet regularly to build relationships and study biblical content, In a D-Group, 2 - 5 men or women meet to grow in their spiritual walk through scripture memorization, reading God’s Word, prayer, and accountability. D-Groups are designed to focus on getting serious with God’s Word and to live alongside one another to grow to become more like Jesus.
In a D-Group you'll be in God’s word daily, actively memorizing scripture, sharing with your group what God is teaching you, and talking about your daily walk with Christ. Staying in God’s Word can often be hard, but you won't be in this alone. You'll have the Holy Spirit, God’s Word, and your D-Group partners to help you along the way.
What does the 12-month commitment look like?
We recommend setting an initial trial period of four weeks. If after four weeks your group wishes to continue, you can commit to meeting together for three more months. This should be enough time to establish some rhythms and get a sense for whether your group is a good fit. At the four month mark, have an open and honest conversation asking, How is this going? Some may decide this is not working for them at this time, while others will agree to continue.
How do I find a D-Group?
- Use the resources that Gateway provides and start a group on your own with fellow believers that have a hunger to grow in or outside of Gateway.
- Your existing larger groups can be a great place to find potential D-Group members. As people form friendships and bonds in Life Groups, serving teams or Bible studies, handfuls of them will decide to take the next step and begin a discipleship journey together in a D-Group. Your neighbor or co-worker relationships are also good places to look for potential group members.
- If you desire to be in a D-Group and the above options do not work, please contact Carson Minish.
Do D-Groups need a leader?
These groups have a very simple format. Someone will initiate the group and gently facilitate the meetings, These groups are ultimately centered on each person having the opportunity to share with others in the group. D-Groups require a bit of planning and facilitation, but do not need an official or trained leader to run them.
To facilitate a D-Group, you do not need to be an expert or have all the answers. The facilitator isn't responsible for changing anyone - the Holy Spirit does the transforming! If you are committed to pursuing Christ and want others to do the same, you have the tools you need to facilitate.
How do I choose members?
Jesus, our example in selecting disciples, spent time in prayer before selecting men (Luke 6:12-16). The word disciple means learner. Begin by asking God to send you a group of men or women who have a desire to learn and grow. Your D-Group should consist of available and teachable believers.
- Discern an individual’s availability by their willingness to meet with and invest in others. Does this person carve out time to listen, study, and learn from others? Does the person have a desire to have a regular quiet time with God of reading the Word and praying? Availability is measured by a willingness to serve God.
- Not everybody who wants to attend a D-Group is teachable. When applying God's Word are they repenting and making changes? A teachable person has a desire to learn and apply what is taught and is open to correction.
After discerning that an individual is available and teachable, prayerfully approach him or her and ask, “Would you be interested in studying the Bible, memorizing Scripture, praying together, and accountability?” Many people are open to that. All you need to do is ask. Keep in mind that men should disciple men, and women should disciple women.
How many people should be in a D-Group?
Because accountability works well in a smaller setting, the ideal size of a disciple-making group is 2 to 5 – you and 1 to 4 other people. We recommend that you do not have more than 5.
Where should we meet?
Find a meeting place away from the church. Restaurants, coffee shops, online and homes are all good options. Meeting outside the church in the community encourages your group to publicize their faith, teaching them it is okay to read the Bible at a restaurant or pray in public. Be sure to select a place that is convenient to all group members and doesn’t have too many distractions.
How often should we meet?
Ideally, you should meet once a week for about an hour. You can meet more frequently, but it is important that you meet at least once a week. Disciple-making is a way of life, not a program. Remember that discipleship is about the relationship between you and your group members.
Is there an attendance requirement?
Yes! The first time you meet with a potential group, share the D-Group Covenant with them. We understand that things happens (sickness, emergencies or out of town trips) but in general attendance is expected. Some people have said after the initial meeting, Uh, this isn’t really for me. I’m not interested. That’s okay. You can allow potential disciples to opt out of the group on the front end after understanding the expectations. Remember, you are looking for people who want to be discipled, people who have a desire to grow and learn. An unwillingness to commit reveals that they are not yet ready to be in a D-Group.
What do D-Group meetings look like?
Here are some elements that your weekly meetings can include:
- Open with prayer
- Quote your Scripture memory verses for the week
- Study the Word of God together. Use a recommended Bible Reading Plan (we offer the Foundations Reading Plan and the Foundations: New Testament in paperback at Next Steps in the lobby. Check with Carson if you have questions about your favorite reading plan. The goal of studying the Bible is to apply the Word of God. Remember, knowledge without application is useless information.
- Talk about your week together. What were your highs and lows, what sin are you struggling with, etc. We have included several Accountability Questions you can go through each week to help. This group is about holding each other accountable. All accountability should be saturated with grace, not legalism.
- Ask each participant to present one prayer request. Assign a person to pray over the requests and ask the Lord to sharpen each of you through your relationship.
How do I challenge my D-Group to memorize Scripture?
How many times has a Scripture come to mind when you needed just the right words in a situation? Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would bring to remembrance all that He said (John 14:26). Those passages of Scripture we have memorized will be brought to our memory at the right moment – but we must learn them.
Group members will memorize Scripture if you hold them accountable through reciting verses to one another at every meeting.
We suggest using the Bible Memory App. This tool is very useful to help you memorize scripture.
Should I disciple unbelievers?
The preferred method is a gathering of born-again believers seeking to grow in their faith. How can you determine if someone is saved or not? We recommend beginning every group by asking each person to share their testimony with the others. For more questions about sharing your faith with a non-believer, contact Carson Minish
When should I ask someone to leave the D-Group?
Reasons for asking someone to leave the group:
- They don’t possess a teachable spirit
- They aren't faithful in attending meetings
- They aren't reading the assigned scripture or aren't contributing to group sharing
- They're persisting in a lifestyle of blatant and unrepentant sin
Teach-ability is an indispensable quality for growth. Someone may be asked to leave if they continually monopolize the group discussion, especially if they are seeking to demonstrate their superior knowledge of scripture rather than learn from interacting with others. Additionally, laziness breeds complacency in the group. Missing meetings, refusing to memorize Scripture, or non-participation during discussion times lowers the morale of the group. Address these types of behavior immediately by meeting with the individual privately to inquire about their attitude and actions. Remind them of the commitment made at the outset of the relationship.
Like Jesus’ relationship with His disciples, ours is a relationship built upon a mutual commitment to Christ and each other.
When do I send out disciples to make disciples?
Remember, the goal is to make disciples who make disciples. Your group should meet for 12 months, and they should know that from the very beginning. Some groups develop a closer bond, which results in accelerated growth; others take longer. We don't recommend meeting for longer than 12 months. Some group members will be ready to end the group and begin their own group. Others will want to remain in the comfort zone of the existing group and won't want to start another D-Group because of the bonds formed within the current group. If you anticipate any challenges ending your group, please contact Carson Minish.