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How to Start a Discipleship Group



by Bobby Harrington: Jesus not only called us to make disciples, but he also showed us how to do it. His strategy was simple. He formed an intentional community of men where he taught, encouraged, challenged, and equipped them in the ways of God. This method has proven to be effective in every culture and era in world history. And it still works today. But practically speaking, what does it look like?

We sat down with preacher and author, Josh Patrick, to ask him some basic questions about how to do what Jesus did… the way he did it.

This is the first part of a series on starting a discipleship group.

When did you know that you were ready to start a discipleship group?

I would look for two sure signs when gauging your readiness to start a group that aims to make disciples of Jesus. Let me share at least how I was confident in the Lord to start a discipleship group.

First, there was conviction.

This was what I noticed in myself at the beginning. I felt convicted that up to this point, my life in Christ was all about me – my growth, my joy, my trials, my finances, my family, etc. This realization took me by surprise. It was as if Jesus whispered in my ear, “It’s time to move on.” This wasn’t a condemning voice. It was a voice of intrigue and invitation. It led me to pray more earnestly and search the scriptures more intentionally—especially the four gospels—for answers.

Second, a decision.

Shortly after a conviction was a decision I made. I felt a burden to do what Jesus explicitly commanded his first followers to do. The Great Commission was no longer a general statement for me; it was a personal assignment given by Jesus himself directly to me.

Third, there was a revelation.

As Jesus guided me through the process of understanding my next step, I started to notice that an increasing number of people were approaching me for spiritual direction. Men I respected were coming to me asking hard questions about God, the Bible, their marriages, and their struggles. Each time this happened, I walked away thinking, Why in the world would he come to me for this? I was humbled and puzzled. When I sought advice from a wise man of God who had been walking closely with me for a few years, he said, “This is no mystery. Jesus is preparing you to become a maker of disciples.”

This is Part One of Josh Patrick’s blog series for Discipleship.org, “How to Start a Discipleship Group”. Stay tuned for his next blog that will focus on how to select persons for a discipleship group.


Josh Patrick is the Teaching and Discipleship Minister at Harpeth Christian Church—“the best job in the world,” he says. Josh is driven by a desire to help people catch the vision that knowing Jesus is the greatest reality in the universe. He is the co-author of the newly released book, The Disciple Maker’s Handbook (Zondervan). The aim of this book is to equip everyday Christians to passionately participate in the greatest cause on earth—making disciples of Jesus! Josh and his wife, Joni, have three daughters—Lilly, Joy, and Sarah—and a rambunctious Boston Terrier named Bruno.

Image credit: Unsplash


Source: How to Start a Discipleship Group