In a culture that is increasingly marked by isolation and disengagement, we at Good Shepherd believe in the importance of regular community and fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ, patterned after the example of the early followers of Jesus (Acts 2:42). One of the ways that we seek to cultivate this community at Good Shepherd is through a discipleship group ministry.
Discipleship groups are not intended to be a replacement of the gathering of the wider church on the Lord's Day, but we do think they can be an effective means of developing and promoting community within the broader church. One of the primary purposes for these groups, as implied in the name, is discipleship. These groups provide opportunities for believers to grow in their Christian walk together. They offer ways for church members to know each other on a deeper level and to care for "one another". They are avenues for Christian fellowship, teaching, encouragement, accountability, and mission. The goal is to equip believers to better love God and to better love their neighbor.
What do discipleship groups usually look like? Discipleship groups are regular gatherings of a small group of people. There is no set standard about when and how often these groups meet. Some groups will meet weekly at the same time each week; other groups may meet twice a month at different times. They ordinarily involve gathering at someone's home for a time of fellowship, prayer, and Bible study, but there also may be opportunities for the group to be involved together in hospitality, outreach, or other events.