Group Discipleship

One of our MTL’s in a meeting of metro directors asked if others did discipleship one-on-one or in groups. The consensus seemed to be mostly by groups.

Shawn Cramer, City Director, Denver Cru, shared some of the reasons why he went from one-on-one to group discipleship. I asked if he would tell me more and if I could share with you. Here are his thoughts.

I’ll never forget Ken Cochrum (then leading the global student-led movement team) putting a $100 bill on the front of his podium, and saying, “This one hundred dollar bill is for the person who can show me a passage where Jesus meets one-on-one with one of his disciples.”

I quickly went through a Rolodex of verses, and couldn’t think of any. There are one-on-one times with the lost (like the woman at the well), but never with his disciples.

I believe Jesus tapped into something powerful in this group dynamic. He had his “twelve”. He also had his  “three” who saw some of the most amazing of Jesus’ miracles, witnessed him at his emotional highs and lows, and leaned against him during the last supper.

Consider with me some of the great advantages of group discipleship:

  • Time efficiency.
  • The power of students beginning to hold other students accountable.
  • A great means for introverts to meet (counter intuitively!). Introverts can be formulating their answer while another is speaking (I fell on to this bonus by accident over breakfast at a conference with a bunch of engineering majors.).
  • Time spent on dating relationship drama is kept to a minimum (Thankfully!). I think this is because students self-consciously don’t want to monopolize the time.
  • The great honor when students begin affirming and encouraging other students.
  • Students become less and less dependent on the staff.
  • More time is available to have those rare one on one appointments.
  • My life post-college is one of initiating with my mentors if I want time. This sets that tone early.
  • Disciples learn from us by what we do with them and away from them. Spending time with the lost has been the best thing I’ve done for discipleship. These believing students know that I’m with them on mission.

Try it this next semester! I hope and pray students begin playing off each other, encouraging each other, meeting without you and you magically have hours and hours freed up in your schedule to be on mission with God seeking and saving the lost.

I like these thoughts. They brought to mind the Christian classic, Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert E. Coleman. Jesus selected a few. But it was a few. I especially liked Shawn’s comments about introverts. As one whose first language is introversion, sometimes the hardest people for me to draw out are other introverts!

There are times, as Shawn said, when it is appropriate to meet one-on-one. But he taps into the idea of the Holy Spirit using the group environment to cause growth.


2 thoughts on “Group Discipleship

  1. Kevin

    Thanks for this post, it is so good. I always try to do group discipleship and beat that drum but this just hits the point home. I’m keeping this on file to share with disciplers!


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