Our aim is to be a joy-filled community, that treasures God in Christ supremely, obeys the Bible completely, loves one another selflessly, and spreads the gospel intentionally. To that end, we structure our church life around three different spheres: the Sunday Worship Celebration, Community Groups, and Discipleship Groups. I want to focus in here on Discipleship Groups, and offer an alternative for you, of what a Discipleship Group could look like.
Set aside for a moment the "small group" template you already have. You know - meet weekly in the evening, throw the kids in front of a Veggie Tales video in the basement, discuss the sermon, pray, eat dessert, and - sarcasm coming - then share your actual prayer requests in the driveway, lest anyone actually write them down and pray for them.
Now, in Discipleship Groups, we aim to live closely together, in the regular rhythms of life, attending to each others' souls with God and his gospel. If you took that simple goal statement, and erased the chalkboard and started over, how would you pursue that?
You would keep in regular touch with a few other people. A few, because we only have a fixed bandwidth in life to really invest in other people. So not many. Let's start with two people. Just two. Or three.
You would want to regularly know "How shall I pray for these two or three?" We can only "attend to the soul" of another person with God and his gospel when we know just what of God and his gospel this person actually needs. And that changes, as the person changes, and their situation changes, and their sight of God changes.
Then you pray for the other person, out of the Bible. You take time to sincerely pray intelligently - that is, praying God's thoughts for this person back to God. No better way to be a good friend than to open the vast storehouses of our Father's heaven for another.
Then, as a by-product of this intelligent praying, you might have something to say. On the other side of this intelligent praying, you might now be positioned to be conduit of God's grace back to this friend. Thankfully now it won't be trite or wooden or superficial. It will be well-timed grace, meeting your friend in the rhythm of their life.
And then your friend grows. So do you. This is discipleship. A simple "prayer triad" - perhaps this is the "Discipleship Group" that you should form with others this fall.