All About D-Groups (Disciple Making)
We want God’s Word to take root in your life and spread to others as you make disciples in a yearly D-Group.
A D-Group is a gender specific, closed group of 3-5 believers who meet together monthly for a year with the purpose of accelerated spiritual transformation.
Members study and memorize Scripture, pray for one another, and keep each other accountable for intentional spiritual growth and obedience.
We desire that each D-Group would involve:
- Connecting in Community
- Daily Scripture Reading
- Scripture Memorization
- Chapter Study and Review
As we follow Christ, He transforms our minds, our desires, our wills, our relationships, and our ultimate reason for living. Every disciple of Jesus exists to make disciples of Jesus, here and among every people group on the planet. There are no spectators. We are all born to reproduce the life of Christ in others.
The following guide will help you to prepare for your monthly D-Group discussion.
If you would like to register or if you have questions regarding connecting to a D-Group, feel free to call 812.944.6448 or email Larry Riley.
Steps to Launch Your D-Group
- Attend the D-Group training (register here)
- Begin to pray for those you will invite to be a part of your D-Group
- Schedule an initial time to meet with your D-Group to share with them the process, desired outcome and agreed upon meeting date.
- Insure that every member of your D-group has been given their chapter of the Bible to read (February: Hosea 1 // March: Psalm 4 //April: Mark 4) , verse to memorize and D-Group discussion guide and journal (click here for D-Group discussion guide).
- Pray for the members of your D-Group and contact them prior to your launch date reminding them of your meeting time.
- Follow the recommend D-Group structure to help guide your through your time together (What do D-Group meetings look like?)
In the paragraphs below, we’ve listed thorough answers to the most commonly asked questions about D-Groups. Have a question not answered below? Contact Us.
Questions About D-Groups
What is a D-Group?
A D-Group is gender-specific closed group of 3 to 5 believers (including the leader) who meet together weekly for the purpose of accelerated spiritual transformation. A person joins the D-Group by invitation only.
While our weekly Groups exist for the purposes of community growth and fellowship, they have an underlying additional purpose (or they should have): evangelism. Our Groups are designed to reach and connect people by getting them involved in the group. A D-Group, on the other hand, consists of believers who desire a deeper walk with Christ. It is not evangelistic in its form or function, but in its fruit: it makes disciples who will then go on to make more disciples.
The format of a D-Group is not one of a teacher-student, but a roundtable discussion. In their book The Invested Life, Joel Rosenberg and T.E. Koshy suggest that a discipleship relationship is “more personal, more practical, and more powerful. A teacher shares information, while a discipler shares life; a teacher aims for the head, while a discipler aims for the heart; a teacher measures knowledge, while a discipler measures faith; a teacher is an authority, while a discipler is a servant; and a teacher says, ‘Listen to me,’ while a discipler says, ‘Follow me.’”
This blueprint, sketched by Jesus Christ through His personal example, is how discipleship is accomplished in the lives of believers, and, ultimately, within the local church. When this plan is followed, those involved will participate in three dynamics that result in growth in their personal lives, as well as in the Kingdom: community, accountability, and multiplication.
How do I find a D-Group?
Making disciples in a D-Group is the next on Growth Pathway because it flows out of our Groups. Groups, which form out of the Worship Gathering, are the “fishing ponds” for D-Groups. As people form friendships and bonds in Groups, handfuls of them will decide to take the next step and begin a discipleship journey together in a D-Group.
How do I lead a D-Group?
The only absolute requirement for leading a D-Group is that you be intentionally pursuing Christ. You do not need to be a master teacher or have all of the answers; you do not need to be able to say, “Listen to me.” If you can say, “Follow me; I’m pursuing Christ,” you have the tools you need to lead a D-Group.
As a D-Group leader, you set the tone for the group’s atmosphere. You are not lecturing students; you are cultivating an intimate, accountable relationship with a few close friends. Joel Rosenberg and T.E. Koshy wrote in their book The Invested Life that the discipleship relationship is “more personal, more practical, and more powerful. A teacher shares information, while a discipler aims for the heart; a teacher measures knowledge, while a discipler measures faith; a teacher is an authority, while a discipler is a servant; and a teacher says, ‘Listen to me,’ while a discipler says, ‘Follow me.’”
How do I choose disciples?
The first step in establishing a formal disciple-making relationship is choosing disciples. 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.
When people approached Jesus about becoming His disciples, our Lord held a high standard. One man said, “I’ll follow you, but let me go bury my father.” Now, the man’s father had not yet died–the man was reaching for an excuse to postpone the kind of commitment that Jesus expected of him. Jesus responded with something that the man would have understood to mean, “You can’t do that. The kingdom is too important.”
Your D-Group should consist of F.A.T. believers: Faithful, Available, and Teachable. A faithful person is dedicated, trustworthy, and committed. Consider a potential disciple’s faithfulness by observing other areas of his/her spiritual life, such as church attendance, Group involvement, or service in the church. Faithfulness is determined by a commitment to spiritual things. Discern an individual’s availability by his willingness to meet with and invest in others. Does this person carve out time to listen, study, and learn from others? Is he accessible when called upon? Does she 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 attends a Group is teachable. A teachable person has a desire to learn and apply what is taught. One who is teachable is open to correction. Recognize teachability by observing one’s response to God’s Word. For example, after hearing a sermon on prayer, do they begin to pray more regularly? Or after a lesson about the dangers of the tongue, does the person implement changes in their speech? A teachable person not only listens to what is taught, but also applies it to his or her life.
After discerning that an individual is faithful, available, and teachable, prayerfully approach him or her and ask, “Would you be interested in studying the Bible, memorizing Scripture, and praying together?” Many people are open to that. All you have to do is ask. We don’t recommend that you say, “Would you like for me to disciple you?” as this question may come across in a derogatory manner. Keep in mind that men should disciple men, and women should disciple women.
How many people should be in the group?
Because accountability works well in a smaller setting, the ideal size of a disciple-making group is 3 to 5 – you and 2 to 4 other people. We recommend that you do not have more than 5, and remember that a one-on-one relationship is not ideal.
Where should we meet?
Find a meeting place away from the church. Restaurants, coffee shops, bookstores, diners, and homes are all good options. Meeting outside the church in the community encourages your group members 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.
How often should we meet?
Ideally, you should meet once a month for about an hour to an hour and a half. You can meet more frequently, but it is important that you meet at least once a month. This schedule does not prohibit those you are discipling from calling you throughout the week or coming by for counsel when needed. It is important to remember that discipleship is about the relationship between you and your group members, not about checking a requirement box. Disciple-making is a way of life, not a program.
Is there an attendance requirement?
Yes, and it is not negotiable. Since we’re going to spend our lives together for the next twelve months, I want to know if they are committed. Some people have said after the initial meeting, “Uh, this isn’t really for me. I’m not interested.” That’s okay. I 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 ready to be in a D-Group. It’s the example Jesus set for us.
What do D-Group meetings look like?
Here are some key elements that will help guide your monthly meetings. As you lead please keep in mind that we desire that each D-Group would involve:
- Connecting in Community
- Daily Scripture Reading
- Scripture Memorization
- Chapter Study and Review
Key Elements of Mtg:
Prayer: Begin with prayer. Ask each participant to present one prayer request at the start of each meeting. Assign a person to pray over the requests, and ask the Lord to sharpen each of you through your relationship.
Reflect: Have a time of intentional conversation by briefly sharing the highs and lows of the week/month. You can also share celebrations and praises.
Quote: Allow each person to quote your Scripture memory verses for the month. We have listed some recommended verses below:
1. Isaiah 9:6, 2. Isaiah 40:28, 3. Genesis 1:1, 4. John 3:16-17, 5. Romans 3:23, 6. Romans 6:23, 7. Revelation 3:20, 8. John 14:6, 9. Ephesians 2:8-9, 10. 2 Corinthians 5:17, 11. Romans 8:28, 12. Isaiah 40:30-31, 13. Romans 8:38-39, 14. Matthew 11:28-30, 15. Psalm 27:1, 16. Jeremiah 29:11, 17. Hebrews 13:8, 18. 2 Peter 3:9, 19. Lamentations 3:22-23, 20. 2 Corinthians 12:9, 21. 2 Corinthians 4:18, 22. Psalm 37:4-5, 23. Proverbs 3:5,7, 24. Philippians 4:13, 25. Galatians 2:20, 26. James 1:22, 27. Colossians 3:23, 28. 1 Corinthians 15:58, 29. James 4:7, 30. Luke 16:13, 31. 1 John 4:7-8, 32. Galatians 5:22-23, 33. Hebrews 12:1-2, 34. Acts 1:8, 35. Romans 12:1-2, 36. 1 Thessalonians 5:18, 37. Psalm 19:14, 38. Philippians 4:6-7, 39. 2 Timothy 3:16, 40. Psalm 119:105, 41. Psalm 119:11, 42. Hebrews 4:16, 43. 1 John 1:9, 44. James 5:16, 45. 1 Corinthians 10:13, 46. Micah 6:8, 47. Matthew 25:40, 48. Matthew 28:19-20, 49. Matthew 5:16, 50. Ephesians 6:12, Happy Memorizing!
Then practice the following method of study called the S.O.A.P model. The goal of studying the Bible is to apply the Word of God. S.O.A.P. stands for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. It is a way of getting more out of your time in God’s word. We did not invent it, we just decided use it to introduce you to an easier way to study scripture.
How does it work?
It’s quite simple. When you sit for your daily quiet time read the bible as you normally would with one simple difference. Underline or make note of any verses that jump out at you with special significance. This is the basis for diving deeper and using S.O.A.P.
S – Scripture
O – Observation
A – Application
P – Prayer
That’s all there is to it!
Remember, knowledge without application is useless information.
Here are some good application questions to utilize:
- What are you hearing from God, and what are you doing about it?
- What is God teaching you, and how is it affecting your life?
- Is there a promise to claim?
- Is there an action or attitude to avoid?
- Is there a principle to apply?
- Spend a few moments asking questions and helping each other. All accountability should be saturated with grace, not legalism. You can’t expect what you don’t inspect.
- Close with prayer.
How do I challenge my D-Group to memorize Scripture?
Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” 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.
10 Tips to Help Memorizing Scripture
Contrary to popular opinion, people who memorize regularly are not “super Christians” with photographic memory. Instead, they have simply learned ways to make the challenge fun and simple. Below are 10 tried-and-true memory strategies.
- Start with passages you’re already familiar with.
- Write the verse on one side of an index card and the verse reference on the other. Carry the card around with you so you can work on memorizing it during wait times.
- Record yourself reading the verses. Listen and follow along while you’re driving, working out, or cleaning.
- Write the first letter of each word in the verse. When you need a hint, look at the letters instead of the full verse.
- Use the stacking method. Stack small drawings or pictures that represent different keywords in the verse. This can help you visualize the verse, even when you aren’t looking at the pictures.
- If you learn best when you do something with your hands, shuffle a deck of cards while you quote. The repetitive motion will help you concentrate.
- Tape your verse to the bathroom mirror and work on it as you shave or fix your hair in the morning.
- Write the verse by hand. Rewrite the verse over and over, or use hand-lettering and other creative illustrations. Utilizing fine motor skills engages your brain. The more of your brain you can employ while memorizing, the better the information will stick.
- Memorize for five minutes, and then take a break. This allows your brain to relax after the mental exercise.
- Set your computer and phone background images to verses. You’ll be surprised by how quickly you have it memorized!
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. Next, ask them to explain the gospel.
When should I ask someone to leave the D-Group?
These are some reasons for asking someone to leave the group: they don’t possess a teachable spirit, they are not faithful in attending meetings, they are not completing assigned work and putting in the kind of effort you require, they are living a lifestyle of blatant and unrepentant sin, etc.
Teachability is an indispensable quality for growth. One situation where someone may be asked to leave is if he or she monopolizes the group discussion week after week. It will be obvious they want to demonstrate their superior knowledge of the Word rather than learn from interacting with others.
Additionally, laziness will breed complacency in the group. Missing meetings, refusing to memorize Scripture, or sitting idly by during discussion times lowers the morale of the others in the group. This type of behavior must be addressed immediately. Meet with this individual privately to inquire about his or her attitude and actions. Remind him or her of the commitment made at the outset of the discipleship relationship.
Like Jesus’ relationship with His disciples, ours is a serious relationship, as well: a relationship built upon a mutual commitment to Christ and each other. Tragically, some will not follow through with that commitment, forcing you to confront them about their unfaithfulness.
What if I don’t know the answer to a question?
There is no shame in not knowing all of the answers to every question. Simply confess that you may not have all the answers, but you will find them. Then do so before the next meeting. Ask your pastor or another spiritual leader to help you with the answer. Never give the impression that you have all the answers.
It is less important to know answers than it is to know how to seek them. It is better to say, “I am not the smartest man/woman in the world because I know all the answers, but because I know where to find the answers.” You may not have total recall when it comes to biblical history, theology, and doctrine, but with time you can locate them!
When do I send out disciples to make disciples?
Always begin with the end in mind. Your group should meet for 12 months, and they should expect that final date from the very beginning. Some groups develop a closer bond, which results in accelerated growth; others take longer. We do not recommend meeting for longer than 18 months. Some group members will desire to leave the group and begin their own groups. Others, however, will want to remain in the comfort zone of the existing group. Some will not want to start another D-Group because of the sweet fellowship and bonds formed within the current group. Remember, the goal is for the men and the women of the group to replicate their lives into someone else.
Bible Reading Plans
We recommend the Nav-Press Bible reading plan, which covers the entire narrative of scripture.
You can also find dozens of additional reading plans through YouVersion’s Bible App.
Growing Up; Bearing Fruit; Firmly Planted by Robby Gallaty
Personal Disciple-making: A Step-by-step Guide for Leading a Christian From New Birth to Maturity by Christopher B. Adsit
The Master’s Plan for Making Disciples: Every Christian an Effective Witness Through an Enabling Church by William and Charles Arn.
Growing True Disciples by George Barna
The Lost Art of Disciple-Making by Leroy Eims
Transformational Discipleship: How People Grow by Eric Geiger, Michael Kelley, and Philip Nation
What is the Gospel? By Greg Gilbert
Christian Beliefs by Wayne Grudem
The Complete Book of Discipleship; The Disciple-Making Church; The Disciple-Making Pastor; Jesus Christ: Disciplemaker, 2nd ed by Bill Hull
Organic Disciplemaking by Dennis McCallum and Jessica Lowery
Discipleship Essentials; Transforming Discipleship: Making a Few Disciples at a Time by Greg Ogden.
Lifestyle Discipleship by Jim Peterson
Follow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live. by David Platt
Discipleshift: Five Steps That Help Your Church to Make Disciples Who Make Disciples by Jim Putnam, Bobby Harrington, and Robert Coleman
Real Life Discipleship by Jim Putnam
The Invested Life: Making Disciples of all Nations One Person at a Time by Joel Rosenberg and Dr. T.E. Koshy
The Great Omission by Dallas Willard
If you would like to register or if you have questions regarding connecting to a D-Group, feel free to call 812.944.6448 or email Ryan Brown.