The issue of discipleship is widely talked about but little carried out. This is in contrast to the command Jesus gave in Matthew 28 ‘to go and make disciples’. A command that has yet to be fulfilled and has never been revoked, and so still demands our prayers, time, energy and obedience. The aim of small group discipleship is to go and make mature disciples who will be effective for the Kingdom of God. This session will highlight that evangelism is part of the outworking of this ‘great commission’.
Who has most influenced your Christian life?
Give people an opportunity to say what they have been learning from God over the last few weeks, what has he been speaking to people? What has he been doing in your lives?
Allow people to briefly share some of these things and use what is said for your worship.
word and witness
Ever since the Reformation, when Martin Luther dismantled the altar and put a pulpit instead at the front and centre of church buildings, many churches have adopted the view that preaching and teaching is the primary way to mature Christians. That if they just hear enough information, they will catch on and grow! This is not a biblical approach - in New Testament terms, teaching and preaching is not central -discipling is.
The Greek word for a disciple is ‘mathetes’ – a learner-doer. It is a learning relationship. The word ‘disciple’ is mentioned 269 times in the N.T. and the word ‘Christian’ is mentioned three times. God is concerned that we continue in a life-long journey as disciples/followers of Jesus.
What does it mean for us today to ‘make disciples’? How can you tell who is a disciple?
This is the nitty gritty of the Christian life; are we following Jesus? Living as he would live? Obeying his teaching? If we are, our lives will bear fruit. It isn’t what we know, but we will be known by the fruit in our lives (Matthew 7:20).
Now take some time to look more closely at your small group. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, but ask for some honest and frank evaluations of how you are all doing together. Would you want to join your small group?!
- What are its strengths/ weaknesses?
- Is the small group ‘making disciples’?
- What fruit is being produced?
- What more could you be doing?
If criticism arises, don’t be scared of it, but try to get people to look positively at how you can all work at it. Remember all the time that small group is everyone’s responsibility, not just the leader’s!
We can often think that evangelism is something done by the peculiar few; those mad individuals who stand on street corners or loiter in university bars. What we need to realise today is that we will never reach this nation unless every one of us is involved, and to go and make disciples is a command for us all to obey. If evangelism is a process, whether we’re five or eighty years old, we can be involved: we can help to make a difference.
- Go round the group and find out how we are each involved now.
- What else would we like to be doing, whether individually or as a group?
- Are there any particular areas within this that people would like prayer for?
Pray for one another.