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5 Essential Ingredients of Groups that Make Disciples

Recently I asked the question, “What have you designed your groups to make?” Answering my own question, I said, “Our small groups are designed to make followers of Jesus.” And I must admit that my answer begs the question, “what kind of group will make disciples or followers of Jesus?”  

What kind of group will make disciples…or followers of Jesus?

We could also ask, “What would have to be true about a group for it to make followers of Jesus?”

Good questions…don’t you think?

I’m sure there are more than these 5, but I don’t believe you can actually make followers of Jesus without these. See what you think.

5 essential ingredients of groups that make followers of Jesus:

1. The presence of a person who can say, “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).” How far ahead must they be? A step or two.  Note: This person (or these people) may not need to be the leader of the group.  

2. A curriculum focused on learning to be like Jesus. The end in mind is being like Jesus, not knowing about Jesus. Note: This probably means that someone more knowledgeable has laid out a pathway designed to help groups wisely choose what to study.  

3. An unforced and unassuming intentionality pervades every gathering. Groups that make authentic followers seem to operate independently of agenda.  Talking about scripture is a naturally occurring element, but so is every other aspect of life. When appearance trumps authenticity the group produces Pharisaism.

4. An “in but not of” culture makes inclusion natural and unforced. Any hint of exclusivity or artificiality negates the work being done. Learning to be like Jesus is a practical impossibility in isolation.

5. An “others first attitude” deeply saturates every aspect of the group. Becoming like Jesus by definition assumes setting aside more and more of your own personal interests.  

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mark@smallgroupresources.net'
Mark Howell serves as Pastor of Communities at Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, NV. He founded SmallGroupResources.net, offering consulting and coaching services to help churches across North America launch, build and sustain healthy small group ministries. He spent four years on the consulting staff at Lifetogether and often contributes to ministry periodicals such as the Pastor's Ministry Toolbox and ChurchCentral.com.