You’re excited!! You have put together your discipleship group and are prepping for your first few meetings. You know what you want to cover, but how do you make sure your time makes an impact and isn’t one of the many pointless meetings you have attended? Or how do you start accomplishing the goals you have for them or helping them grow closer with each other? Read below for three keys to success your first few weeks!
3 Keys to Success Your First Few Weeks
1. Introduce The Win (AND Repeat It!)
My win for my girls is to be able to confidently and clearly explain the gospel. Months down the road, I want my girls explaining the gospel to strangers at Starbucks or talking to someone we meet on the streets. It’s a moment, however, that I have to intentionally prepare them for.
The first week I try to gauge how much my girls already know about the win. Coming in, most of girls will have a general understanding of the gospel, but I will see a lot of apprehension and wide eyes when I ask “Explain the gospel to me as if I’ve never heard anything about Jesus.” From there, I talk them through the model we are going to use and have them copy the diagram.
Regardless of what your win is, the key to retention is repetition. Over the next few weeks, I mostly ask my girls “so tell me what you remember about the gospel and the diagram we covered last week?” This often has them digging for their notes and articulating it back to me in their own words. Once they get more comfortable with the process, I will incorporate roleplays or have them respond to YouTube videos I find.
2. Encourage Vulnerability
Brene Brown wrote in The Gifts of Imperfection that “staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection.” It’s a truth with far-reaching implications – not only for a discipleship group – but also in our individual lives as well.
As a leader, this vulnerability must begin with me. If my girls only hear from me times I have succeeded, seized the opportunity to share the gospel or stayed pure in relationships – they will feel little freedom to share their bad choices and mistakes. Undoubtedly one must choose wisely what is appropriate to share, but this transparency can make a powerful impact as it loosens the grip shame has in the lives of our girls. It brings hope and light to dark places while expelling the isolation sin can bring.
To encourage this vulnerability, I also need to be a patient and constant learner. I can’t impact my girls if I don’t know them, but getting to know someone doesn’t happen overnight! It takes time for me to get to know their dreams, past hurts and current struggles. It also takes time for them to learn these things about each other. When they do share though, I want to model truth and grace. Sin is never okay, but if you’re struggling yet trying to follow Jesus – I am going to be your biggest cheerleader along the way!
3. Prepare Them to Replicate
I am so grateful for my Bible college education and would love to give my girls similar training. I learned a LOT those four years and want to pass on what I can!
With this in mind, however, I want to make sure everything I teach is capable of being retaught by someone without my background. To help with this, I actually give my girls outlines for every lesson with blanks to fill in as we go. It does take more time on my end, but this actually helps me stay on track as a leader while giving my girls something to reuse when teaching it to a peer. If you don’t have time to do this, I am planning to begin sharing my outlines soon so you can use them!
In life, we can invest our time in a lot of different places. We know though, that only two things last forever – God’s Word and people. I LOVE this truth because girls discipleship is one of the places where God’s Word and people collide. Therefore, God can use you to impact generations by investing in the lives of the next generation. With these three steps in place, you’ll be well on your way to leaving a lasting impact. I’m cheering you on as you go!
What have you found important when starting a new discipleship group for girls? What ideas have worked for you?