Contact Info Subscribe Links


December 2021- February 2022

We Need Each Other


Online Edition

Download PDF

iPad and E-Reader




History Resources



Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email


The "Why" of Discipleship Groups

By David Womack


Why do you have discipleship groups? Whether a traditional Sunday School, Life Groups, or some variation, every church should have a church-wide, group-based, discipleship ministry. There are at least four good reasons why, and they all revolve around growing connection: to help us grow with God in Christ, with each other, with the Church, and in new relationships. These four connections align with the New Testament doctrine of the church and discipleship.

Grow in our relationship with God. First (and foremost), the Church exists to honor Jesus Christ, so that’s a relationship we want to grow in. This need to grow also answers the question of why study the Bible—for relationship, not just knowledge. We study the Bible to know Someone, not to know about someone.

Grow in our relationship with each other. Paul filled his epistles with examples and exhortations to foster deep caring relationships with our brothers and sisters in the local church context. We grow closest to those with whom we pursue discipleship as we study the Word, pray, and share life with one another. Healthy personal relationships can be accomplished better in smaller groups.

Grow in our relationship with the church. We want to be connected to God’s work in the world, and we best connect with His work through our local church. Small group members are usually the most connected and committed members in the church.

Grow in new relationships. Any discussion about discipleship includes disciplemaking. The more we grow as a disciple, the more we care about others becoming disciples. The immediate application of this goal is to encourage group members to work to add more people to their group.

The “why” of connection groups also tells us what we should emphasize in our groups.

  1. In our groups, we should ask “How does what we’re discussing and learning impact how we know Christ?” We should encourage each other to engage in personal and family devotions. D6 devotional magazines are designed to help every member of the family grow in relationship with Christ and each other.

  2. One of the least practiced but most impactful disciplines is spiritual conversation. People talk football or politics, but do we intentionally focus on spiritual conversations? Encourage your group to engage in conversations of spiritual depth, both in and out of meetings.

  3. Challenge each other to focus on God’s active presence and providence. God is always “up to something,” and He has invited His Church to be part of it. Regardless of where you look in Scripture you learn something about God’s ways and will; a good teacher or group leader will lead the group to discover this in every session and grow in understanding the role of the Church in God’s unfolding plan.

  4. Encourage your group to have a heart for others, especially the lost. Challenge each other to identify who they really are in the story of the Good Samaritan, to become the character most like Christ in the story. The NAFWB 3 for 30 Reach Prayer Calendar is a great resource to help your group grow in loving others:

Why have discipleship groups?

To help us grow in loving God, loving and building up each other, loving our church and the work of the Church, and loving others, especially the unchurched and the unsaved. A small group experience coupled with personal and family devotions and participation in corporate worship is a great formula to help us to grow as disciples.

About the Author: David Womack is customer service director at Randall House. Learn more:


©2022 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists