Group Growth: Why Community Matters for Discipleship

young women reading Bibles at a Bible study

Community has always been essential in discipleship. In the Old Testament, the Israelites gathered collectively to hear the Word of God proclaimed. In this assembly, they were reminded how to live as God’s people and the great things He had done for them. New Testament believers, often gathering in homes, read God’s word in community. They fellowshipped, prayed, and served together. Discipleship was never intended to be a solo effort. The groups these believers were a part of were instrumental to their growth.

Your group’s role is indispensable in the formation of your discipleship too. It should not replace your local church, but it can act as a strategic part of your unshakable pursuit of God.
 

The Importance of Presence

First of all, small groups offer a company of Christian witnesses for growing together. It’s a testimony of your love for each other and the lost world around you as a missional community. Your presence matters for your discipleship and that of other believers. Does your schedule allow enough margin for meeting with others regularly for growing in Christlikeness? Stretch yourself to learn from others who may not necessarily look like you or share your socio-economic background.
 

The Gift of Grace and Truth

Another benefit of small groups is the gift of grace and truth. It’s a gift you both give and receive. You are privileged to not only receive and extend grace to one another but also grow in truth together, which happens as you study God’s Word and depend on His Spirit to guide you in understanding and applying it. Think of a small group as a safe place for you to ask questions about Scripture. A Bible-based Christian community is a safeguard for truth and strengthens you for living in pursuit of God in today’s world.
 

The Role of Accountability

Go more in-depth in truth by speaking truth to one another. Encouraging or gently correcting a sister in Christ is best done face-to-face rather than behind the screen of your phone or computer. Keeping each other accountable is more effective when you’re gathering together consistently. Accountability serves to strengthen and equip you in discipleship. Iron cannot sharpen iron if it never makes contact.

Discipleship doesn’t have to be complicated. A willing spirit and a Bible-based, missions-focused group that pursues God together is an excellent foundation for growing and helping others to grow in Christ. If you have a group like this, then count it as a blessing. Keep at it. Prioritize it. Cherish it.


If you are not a part of a missions group, then consider starting a group on your college campus or in your church or association. Visit wmu.com/getstarted to get more information about myMISSION, the missions organization for young women.


Ena Redding* loves seeing women of all ages all over the world growing in Christlikeness together. She blogs at EnaRedding.com.

*Name changed.

 

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