In this post, I shared about the first step of our discipleship process. The goal is to first help people connect with Jesus through the weekly worship service or a connect event.
The second step is GROW. At Pioneer, we’ve developed a system of semester-based small groups that, up to this point, is working quite well. The system is based on the book Activate by Nelson Searcy. For those that aren’t acquainted with the system, allow me to give a brief overview, and then I’ll share some lessons and resources.
What Is A Semester-Based Small Group?
In this model, there are three semesters per year with each semester lasting between 8-12 weeks in length. In between every semester, there is a month off called a “promotion” month. This promotion month serves two purposes. For one, it gives people an opportunity to rest from leading or being in a small group. Some kinds of small group systems are indefinite in length. If you’ve ever been in one of those kinds of groups, then you’re aware of that sinking feeling that comes with knowing that you’re basically married to this thing forever. Even if you’re with a great group of people, everyone needs some space. This system allows for that. Secondly, during this month, people are also given a list of the different groups they can sign up for in the next semester.
These groups are also based on affinity. In other words, there are many different kinds of small groups like racquetball, ultimate frisbees, Bible study, or even cooking groups. We advertise that there’s one for every kind of interest and passion. So these groups gather around a shared interest.
So What Happens In A Group?
Each group shares three core DNA components:
a) spiritual touch-point
b) fun event
c) service project
A spiritual touch-point means that every group will have either a prayer or a short devotional. So the leader of the motorcycle group might just share a brief thought and prayer and then hit the road with the group. They will also do a fun event in that semester. The group might gather to go bowling together or gather to eat at someone’s house. Finally, each group will do some kind of service or outreach project in the community. Last semester, my group went to a pregnancy care center and helped them to clean everything and to prep things for a future mail out. This semester we’re planning on partnering with a soup ministry in the nearby city of Benton Harbor. Imagine, now, 60 groups in a semester doing a service project in a community. The impact can be powerful.
Below are some of the resources related to the GROW part that have been developed.
Here’s the intro video to our process:
Here’s a video we used to recruit leaders for our GROW groups:
Here’s a video to encourage people to sign up for a GROW group:
GROW Group Catalogs
(Click the link below to download the full catalog in PDF form)
To manage our GROW groups, we use a software called Church Teams.
That’s the gist of the process.
Did you see the whole series?
So what do you think? Any questions? What would you add or recommend to make this system better? What have you found to be useful to help disciple people? To leave a comment click here.
[image by Mr T in DC]