Every gathering that provides Biblical teaching is a powerful spiritual setting and is in no way insignificant. Teaching is a vital part of the discipleship vehicle, much like tires are to a car, without tires you are stuck. However, tires alone do not make up a car though they are integral to the car. In other words, all discipleship settings will have teaching, but not all teaching settings are in and of themselves discipleship settings. I believe this is where we have gotten it wrong in our North American church setting.
Grace Point does a great job, and yet I am calling us to be even more intentional. All Life Groups can/could be discipleship settings, but not all Life Groups are discipleship settings. Does this mean they are doing something wrong? No, but it does mean that unless they are replication-destined with intentional practice and accountability then they fall short of producing disciples though they do much discipling.
The key elements in the D2 Movement are “Begin with Replication in Mind,” practice the habits of Bible study methods, memorization, writing and life application. The irony is that many in Life Groups would look at the group and say “we do this;” we study the Bible, we gather for fellowship, we go local, we go global etc… and yet the simple shift of having removed the “goal of replication” or the “now go” creates a context that is deficient of movement. Again, the vehicle is only missing the spark plug but still is inoperable or devoid of movement. D2 is not in any way superior to a Life Group, and in some ways, if approached without the “heart” of discipleship, less than a Life Group in every way. The advantage is the groups begin with a greater focus and that is for the purpose of replication and the process is, or should be, a more deliberate modeling in lieu of the impending launch of the disciple “going” and doing the same. In many cases all a Life Group needs is a tweak but some need an overhaul. Inevitably as people evaluate, they will either do discipleship replication in Life Group, in addition to Life Group, or in place of Life Group; either of these is an option so long as replicating disciples takes place.
We are talking about heart and art vs. mind and linear science. The disequilibrium this creates is no different from Jesus saying the rich must go through the eye of the needle or in order to inherit the Kingdom you must be a child or if you want to be first then be last. What the disciples inevitably asked Jesus is, “Tell us what you mean, what you want, what to do?” In most cases, Jesus didn’t explain he just kept showing.
I’m am not under any illusion that some D2 groups will simply be turned into a ‘different’ teaching setting; but my hope is that some will be intentional deliberate discipleship laboratories where followers are learning and practicing and held accountable to serious pursuit.
The disequilibrium from Sunday is intentional…So if the Kingdom of God were left to those you have discipled, what would it look like? All service, no evangelism? All evangelism, no grace? All grace, no depth? Be honest, how would you critique what you produce? For those of you who have a hard time being objective, ask someone without defending with anecdotal evidence…just listen. Are these the disciples you’ve made or are they a byproduct of the greater community? Just rambling today.