What can we do to help our group to continue the learning that was begun on Sunday? How can we help them to pursue obedience that was expected as a result of the encounter in God’s Word? What can we do to help them to continue to grow as disciples? How can we encourage community relationships, care, evangelism, and service?
- Trust and Follow God. Be sensitive to the leadership of the Spirit. Recognize that God has provided you (and them) with unique gifts, abilities, personalities, passions, and experiences. Acknowledge that He is the Shepherd-Owner of the sheep while you are the shepherd-steward. Spend time with Him. Pray for help and guidance. Follow His agenda. Follow where He leads.
- Keep in Contact with Members. Look for opportunities to reinforce the encounter and learning between group meetings. Use every means at your disposal. Contact them face-to-face, by phone, by mail, or by electronic means. Make assignments. Ask questions. Check on commitments to obey. Reinforce quiet times and spiritual disciplines. Don’t feel you have to do all this alone. Get them in pairs or triads. Enlist a set of Encouragers.
- Encourage Discipleship Accountability. Here is one of many possible avenues of approach. Assign members (including absentees) into consistent class subgroups (ideally 3-4 same gender). Encourage the groups to connect by phone (or in person) each week between group meetings. AGENDA: share prayer requests (write them down); pray together (then and later); check on obedience related to the lesson and on spiritual disciplines; and encourage one another.
- Measure Spiritual Progress Differently. Regular attendance matters, but that is not the only measurement. How consistent are their daily quiet times? How many caring contacts (with members and guests) are being made weekly? How many new group members have been added each month/quarter? How many group members are serving in the church and community? How many group members are serving as leaders in the group and/or the church? What do their testimonies of obedience tell you? How many guests have joined you for group time, fellowships, projects, or meal? How many spiritual conversations are group members having each month? How many group leaders and new groups have been launched from your group? What you measure gets done!
- Ask for Testimonies of Obedience. During every group time, lead them to commit to obey and pray in response. Remind them to obey at the end of and following group time. Ask next week, how they did at living out the truth of this week’s lesson. Share your testimony of obedience to seed the process for them to share theirs.
What would you add to this list? How do you encourage them to do what they know God expects? How do you encourage obedience? Press Comments and share your experiences. For more ideas, check out Disciple-Making Encounters.