[Andy Johnson 3:10pm Friday late afternoon 9/14/07]
6 Things about Discipling and Small Groups:
(1) What do we mean by discipling? Everything we do as the church is discipling. Relationships, and regular preaching of the Word is what CHBC means by discipling. Everything is aimed toward making disciples. It is a normative biblical concept for encouraging others to grow in Christ, namely this takes place in the local church.
(2) A culture of discipleship is encouraged in the entire congregation as opposed to a discipleship program. Members aren’t signing up for a program; therefore, this is not optional. According to Scripture like John 15 we must set out to intentionally help others to grow spiritually.
(3) How do we encourage one on one discipleship? Leaders are picked according to how their lives are characterized. The purpose of meeting up is to encourage spiritually.
(4) Roles of small groups overlap with one-on-one discipling. Don’t expect that the staff of the church is a matchmaker. Small group leaders aren’t necessarily discipling everyone in the small group, but they are networking relationships and giving feedback about the relationships to the elders and church members. They help connect discipling relationships for spiritual encouragement.
(5) Role of staff in discipling. Discipling everyone is not the job of the staff…but the staff particularly works with the more difficult cases of discipling (not always though). The congregation fosters the environment of discipleship and the staff is certainly part of that. But the sole responsibility does not lie on the shoulders of the staff. Rather, the responsibility relies on the entire congregation.
(6) What’s the role of CHBC members in small group discipling? When signing the covenant of the church you take the responsibility to look out for the spiritual welfare of others within the church. Through this they have permission to disciple each other. They are credentialed, they don’t need a certificate, or to pass a program…this is the work of everyone who is a Christian as a part of a congregation. CHBC is constantly teaching initiative, you need to take initiative toward others. You don’t even need to be more spiritually mature than others (however we should strive to grow in grace). So read through a book with someone that is more spiritually mature than you.
Model, encourage, and empower membership to disciple…this is not a program.
What it looks like….get together weekly to talk through the sermon, outline books of Bible together, talk about struggles in light of Scripture systematically, read a book from the church library. There is no required text. It’s very flexible. 50% of members in church are in small groups. There are a few different kinds types of small groups at CHBC: (1) Community groups based on residence in a community once a week or every other week...everything is approved by elders, but not prescribed, (2) Men’s groups mostly single men topics fluid but approved by the elders…just encouraging small groups to gather, (3) Women’s groups mostly composed single women…they don’t put people in these that are not members of the local church (4) there are no non-members so they do not put non-members in community and small groups.
Official CHBC small groups and materials are approved by the elders.