1. Why are you starting Discipleship Groups?
The Bible and the counsels of Ellen White’s writings in the Spirit of Prophecy declare that the primary mission of the church — besides all the functions within the body of Christ — is to make disciples for Jesus. While many Seventh-day Adventists would agree with Jesus’ Great Commission in Matthew 28 — our Lord’s final charge — how often do we actually make disciples for Jesus? And does every church member participate in this mission to multiply the kingdom of God?
2. How can I help make disciples for Jesus?
We believe there are three simple steps to enable everyone to fulfil the Great Commission: Make, mature and multiply. We also believe that life transformation happens in the micro-Christian community, within a group of three to five people. We call that the Discipleship Group, or D-group. D-groups are equipped with resources that will help members to learn more about being spiritual disciples, their ministry and mission, and looking after their physical health and emotional wellness. It culminates with giving members the tools to give Bible studies and form new D-groups.
3. How would you sum up the D-group process?
Life transformation in Christ within a micro group must lead to life multiplication for Christ, which translates to the forming of new groups of believers. This is the biblical model of discipleship Jesus and the apostle Paul advocated in the New Testament.
4. I have been an Adventist and a faithful follower of Jesus for a long time. Should I still join a D-group?
The questions to ask are, Am I currently making disciples the Jesus way? Am I producing disciples and are these disciples also multiplying disciples for the kingdom of God? Going through the D-group process will help you to experience the change a micro-community can have on you, and at the end of the cycle, equip you to teach others.
5. What is the difference between a D-group and a Care Group?
The focus of our Care Groups or Small Groups tend to be on nurturing and supporting, occasionally inviting seekers or interested individuals to participate. It is easy to join or leave a Care Group or Small Group, and discussion topics are often wide and varied. A typical Care Group or Small Group has anything from six to 15 people.
Conversely, a D-group is a closed group committed to meeting regularly, with expressed permission to hold each other mutually accountable in spiritual growth and maturity. It includes a desire to live an emotional and spiritually healthy life, developing a passion for mission and service, and ultimately to invest one’s life in another’s. The recommended D-group size is three to five people.
At the end of the D-group cycle, participants are encouraged to give Bible studies and/or lead new D-groups.
6. How are the D-group resources unique?
The D-group resources are in sync with our prescribed discipleship pathway, which is to make disciples, mature disciples, and finally, multiply disciples to form new disciples. The D-group resources focus on life applications and practical actions instead of theoretical discussion. The resources have been developed based on the belief that life transformation best happens in a micro biblical-functioning community. This change in personal life in turn leads to the multiplication of other Christian disciples, which is the final goal of every D-group. This is the foundation of all D-group resources. In term 4, participants will learn how to give Bible study and lead their own D-group. They will also pair up to pray for new Bible study students and D-group members.
7. How were the D-group resources developed?
The resources are designed to suit our local Adventist context and further fine-tuned after feedback from trial groups. We will continue to make improvements to the resources as they are used by future D-groups.
8. Can I use other resources?
The format and content of the D-group resources are not silver bullets. There are undoubtedly many other resources that are useful and insightful. However, after much prayer and extensive research, Singapore Adventist Conference is recommending the use of our D-group resources, which have been designed to encourage personal ownership of discipleship.
9. How long does the D-group process last?
Maturation and life transformation requires time. The material has been designed with a newly baptised member in mind. We are seeking to normalise discipleship and mission in every church member’s life, with every new member going through a minimum one-year process to mature into a multiplying disciple for Jesus.
10. How do you form a D-group?
- Pray to God for wisdom to know who to invite.
- Talk to your pastor who can provide counsel and insight.
- Talk to other members who may also desire to be part of a D-group.
- Find the most conducive time to meet. You should all go through the lessons before the group meets.
11. Can I just meet with my family?
It is not recommended as family dynamics can make it difficult to form a culture of accountability within the D-group.
12. Should the group members be of the same gender?
Yes, we believe every D-group should be formed by members of the same gender. This is because the needs of men and women are different, and this includes the ways they express their emotions, feelings, and perceptions. Many personal and deep sharing may occur in D-group meetings, and groups of the same gender will help to prevent any unnecessary emotional transference or formation of relationship bonds between a man and a woman.
13. Can I drop out or join halfway?
We understand things don’t always go according to plan. If a member is no longer able to commit to the D-group, dropping out is encouraged, preferably with an intention to join another suitable group at a future date after a break. We don’t recommend members joining a D-group mid-session as the D-group resources are designed to cover essential areas of every Christian life, and time is needed to form a good spiritual community among members. Situations may occur where discretion needs to be exercised to combine or stop groups. Consult your local church pastor in such instances.
14. How often should my D-group meet?
Groups are encouraged to complete the eight sessions in one quarter (13 weeks), with each session lasting around 60 minutes. It’s up to your group to determine how often you meet. The primary purpose is not to break the momentum as meeting regularly encourages better spiritual and life accountability. We also understand that circumstances may require you to complete one term over a longer period of time.
15. How can I ensure the success of my D-group?
The D-group formation must be Spirit-led and Spirit-empowered. Members of every D-group must be open to new insights and changes to their spiritual lives, and come with an attitude of humility to learn from each other. When lives are genuinely changed and transformed, the natural result is to bear fruit for Jesus.
If there is no intention to reproduce and multiply at the end of the cycle, D-group meetings may end up simply as a nurture Bible study group. Such a group will eventually experience spiritual and emotional demise. A D-group needs to actively look for new seekers for Bible studies and to eventually assimilate them into new discipleship-making groups. Otherwise, it will just be another group.
Also, D-groups should not be platforms for theological debates or exchanges of personal opinions. Members of D-groups should encourage each other to be Christlike, allowing the Spirit of God to transform, and holding each other spiritually accountable.