Having raised a family of boys, one who played college football, I’ve watched hundreds of football practices. Most practices are routine and boring. The players on the field do the same things over and over again. Football practice involves repetition, repetition, and repetition. There is a reason for this. When it’s time to play the game the coaches want the players to “do their job” without having to think. Repetition in practice results in replication on the field when it really matters.
This principle is true in discipleship. The ultimate objective of discipleship is replication. Our goal is to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples. Discipleship without multiplication is not real discipleship. In discipleship, we want to lead others to practice the disciplines necessary for spiritual growth and to equip them with a simple game plan for discipling others.
D-Life is a great game plan for training others for a life of discipleship. D-Life is an organic, intentional, and simple process for equipping all believers to live a lifetime lifestyle of making and multiplying disciples.
Living the D-Life involves leading a D-Group. A D-Group of three to eight people can meet anytime and anywhere for the purpose of intentional discipleship. In living the D-Life, it’s important to remember that repetition leads to replication. Since you will replicate what you practice, your D-Group weekly agenda should always be as follows:
- Fellowship Time
- Prayer Time
- Accountability Time
- Story Time
- Bible Reading
- Bible Study
- Ministry Planning
- Weekly Appointments
- Closing Prayer
Let’s break down this agenda and see why it’s important for us to repeat it weekly.
D-Groups can meet anytime and anywhere–coffeeshops, restaurants, homes, parks, schools, and places of business. Each week your group should take a few minutes to share coffee, a meal or snack, or participate in some activity together. This time is important to get to know one another and to grow closer as a group, but it may vary depending on the time constraints of the group.
After fellowship time comes prayer time. A different member of the group should be assigned each week to take prayer requests and lead the group in prayer. He or she should must also pray weekly for revival and spiritual awakening in our land. Don’t forget this. This is a very important part of D-Life.
After prayer time, D-Group leaders should ask the group if they completed their daily Bible reading assignments. Many people will never develop the life-changing habit of daily Bible reading without accountability. Encourage their faithfulness by asking group members to share some of the personal application points recorded in their notes. Leading others to read their Bibles daily and to write down personal application points may be the most important aspect of D-Life.
After accountability time comes story time. A different member of the group should be assigned each week to tell the story or paraphrase the passage to be studied. No one should memorize or teach the passage, but simply and briefly tell the story in one’s own words or share the main idea that is being taught.
After story time, read the story from the Bible. A different member of the group should be assigned each week to read the passage to be studied. Please don’t skip this even when the person telling the story covers it well. The Word of God never returns void. There is power in the public reading of Scripture.
After reading the story or passage from the Bible, the group will discuss it. A different member of the group should be assigned each week to facilitate the Bible study. He or she will simply lead the group to discuss the passage using the questions provided in the weekly study guide. Not everyone is gifted to teach, but everyone can be trained to facilitate an interactive group Bible study. For more information on facilitating the Bible study, see this previous article on How to Facilitate a Great Bible Study.
After the Bible study comes ministry planning. D-Groups carry out six ministry and evangelism projects every year–one every two months. The group should plan for and pray for upcoming ministry projects weekly and regularly review their plan for sharing the gospel.
Before the closing prayer, four assignments should be made for the following week. Assign different members of the group to lead in prayer, tell the story, read the Bible, and facilitate the Bible study. Involve every member of the group in all four areas of participation several times throughout the year.
Always have someone close your D-Group meeting with prayer.
Remember that repetition leads to replication. By following this weekly agenda, you will lead your group to practice the disciplines necessary for spiritual growth and equip them with a simple game plan for discipling others. These basics of discipleship are proven and reproducible. By following them, you will equip your group for a lifestyle of making and multiplying disciples.