Discipling New Believers into New Churches
Editor – Following up on the Billy Graham Association’s My Hope India with its thousands of respondents was a daunting task. Curtis Sergeant played a key role in developing discipleship material that would guide these new believers from across the subcontinent to form into small groups that would progress through discipleship toward the formation of new home-based churches. Curtis’ introduction to the program follows below. If you’d like to download the entire 113-page study guide, you can find it here.
Welcome to this series of small group studies! Through this training you will learn of God’s purposes, His destiny for your own life and the wonderful plans He has for your friends and your family. God has chosen to live His life through you. Just as He has transformed your life as a follower of Jesus, He will enable you to lead others to experience His salvation, too.
One way to look at this training is that it is a “crash course” on how to live as a Christian and follower of Jesus.
As you follow the Lord and celebrate His goodness with others, God will place you in a spiritual movement. This spiritual movement ignites when God’s Spirit works to help a small group of believers begin new small, healthy, and reproducing groups that quickly spread out to plant other small, healthy, reproducing groups that quickly spread out to plant other small, healthy, reproducing groups and so on until Jesus returns. Each of these groups can be called a church. This process continues and multiplies at such a rapid rate that an entire communities of people have the chance to hear the good news of Jesus and His invitation for eternal life in a very short period of time.
We know this kind of spiritual movement is a divine act and only occurs when God wills it to happen, but we also know that there are things that we can do to help “prepare the way” for a spiritual movement to take place. This training is designed to help equip you prepare the way for a movement of God.
One way to look at this training is that it is a “crash course” on how to live as a Christian and follower of Jesus. We’ll cover life-changing subjects like obedience and sharing your faith. We’ll learn the fundamentals of faith like how to pray, live together as God’s family, and study God’s word. And we’ll learn eternal life-changing truths like God’s purposes and how to live them and share them with others.
You become a trainer and a leader anytime that you have the opportunity to share these truths with other believers. Don’t worry about the exact words that are being said. These sessions are designed to help you accomplish the beginnings a spiritual movement. You will learn to MODEL what a new small group might look like. Your job is not to be the leader of this small group church, but a member of the church, sharing the part that God has given you to share. You will also learn how to ASSIST someone to start their own group, to OBSERVE them to make sure they are listening to and learning from God and His Word. Finally, you will become a MENTOR to a new leader providing insight and ongoing advice to them while the new leader begins to reach out to their friends and family with the Good News.
Each time you gather together for your Small group meeting be sure that you take time to:
• GREET and get to know one another.
• CHECK IN with those within the Small group who are stepping out and being
obedient to launch their own Small group with their friends and family.
• PRAY for needs within the group and friends and family that are not yet in God’s
• SHARE the topics, Scripture, and discussion questions in each lesson.
• APPLY the lesson personally and determine who to share it with, and
• FELLOWSHIP with time for tea or snacks.
We believe that God’s Spirit is already at work preparing the hearts of people groups all over the world for hundreds and maybe thousands of spiritual movements to begin from followers of Jesus just like you who are obedient to God’s call to join in the work of God’s Kingdom.
We pray that your small group is one of those that God uses to help launch a reproducing small group church and help start a spiritual movement.
Here are some key leadership principles that are important to understand and follow to grow the small groups into a spiritual movement among your family and friends and throughout the nation of India.
Each time you meet with your own small group begin to practice these four key leadership principles:
MODEL: Lead your friends and family through this lesson very carefully. It is designed so that you can read and study the material or, if you are more comfortable, you can read through the lesson to others in your group.
ASSIST: Go with the friends from your group to help them share this exact lesson as they reach out to their own friends and family. You can encourage them to lead or share the leadership of the group until they are comfortable.
OBSERVE: Each member of your own small group has a spiritual destiny to lead his own family and friends to a strong and lasting relationship with Jesus Christ. Carefully pray and support each member of your small group to begin their own group. As these new, 2nd generation leaders begin to take the responsibility for their own group you can take a step to the side and become a “shadow” leader. Take a few moments in the middle of each small group meeting to CHECK IN with one another as to how the new Small groups are growing.
MENTOR: Each week encourage the members of your own small group to share what they are learning with their own friends and family. As you have modeled the lessons to members of your group, ASSIST them to become leaders on their own. Then OBSERVE them as they step out on their own. Finally, you will become a MENTOR, providing help and advice but allowing them to lead their own groups. Remember, as you MENTOR new leaders you are multiplying a spiritual movement of Jesus Followers.