Generations,  Leadership Lessons,  Spiritual Growth,  What I'm Reading

Discipleship Today

Last week I shared a post (read What Now? here) asking what you are hearing from women you serve and lead. Many are ready to take a deeper dive into knowing and growing in Christ. Are you ready to lead them well?

I am currently leading my 4th D-Group at church since retirement in 2017. Discipleship has always been the core of women’s ministry as far as I am concerned. Of course, the first step is salvation, but that is NOT the final step in a woman’s spiritual journey. She needs women who will shepherd her through the next steps. This was not my experience as a new believer when I was a pre-teen. It was years before someone told me there even were next steps!

Once a woman begins growing in a bible teaching church, she will begin to read and study scripture, learn to pray in faith, and seek the Lord’s direction to find places of Kingdom service. There is still another step: being in a Bible focused discipleship group that expects accountability for deepening our spiritual disciplines and learning to replicate that process in the lives of others.

For me, that has been what my church calls D-Groups. I am linking you to lots of resources at the end of this post for more details, but I want to share personally how this has blessed my life as I continue to grow myself as I lead these groups.

My first two groups lasted a year using the Foundations Bible reading plan. You do NOT read every chapter of the Bible, but every major narrative of the scriptures.

Then the Foundations New Testament was released, so now I use both of these resources. This reading includes all passages in the New Testament.

This method takes about 18-19 months to complete. We follow Foundations through the Old Testament reading, then put that down and begin Foundations New Testament which is a year long reading of the entire New Testament. We read 1-2 chapters a day, 5 days a week, thus the “260” days a year of reading. A huge benefit to being together this long is the extended time our group gets to spend together, praying for one another and doing lots of life together! Even after our group ends (and it DOES end!), these gals are a permanent part of my life!

Most of the young women I’ve had in D-Group have never read the Bible chronologically. For them to begin to see the books of the Bible as ONE story is the sweetest thing! They experience a whole new level of understanding Scripture and God, as well as the thread of the Gospel from Genesis to Revelation. This kind of Bible reading changes every scriptural study they do in the future.

One important aspect is the expectation that the group members will replicate what they’ve experienced (using their own personality and giftedness) with another D-Group so that this multiplies discipleship effectively. Another important key is the covenant they sign as they opt in to a D-Group. They agree to complete the weekly Bible reading, journals based on the day’s reading, memorize scripture (2 verses a week), pray using a prayer journal, and agree to holding each other accountable for our commitments.

We begin with the requirement of doing 2 HEAR journals a week, working up to doing one all 5 days of reading. Here is that method:

  • H-highlight verse or passage that stands out to me
  • E-explain why this is included in scripture, who it’s written to and why
  • A-apply this to my life today, what does this teach me about God, the Gospel and myself
  • R-respond-write a prayer to the Lord or steps of action based on what I learned in this passage

Each of the 4 groups I’ve led have met in my home one night a week. I provide snacks and hugs when they arrive. Most of my young women are single, a couple are married, and only one member had a baby so childcare has not been an issue. Nor has time been a big issue, which means I have to keep us moving to hold our time to 2 hours. Most groups do NOT meet this long!

A couple of other things we do is share our testimonies after we have gotten to know each other. We also read several books together. But the book is not a requirement, it is additional. Completing the Bible reading is first priority, reading our chapter that week in our selected book is a bonus if they can get to it. Most do! We read a variety of books. I always want them to read Disciple Her by Kandi Gallaty.

Growing Up by Robby Gallaty is another one I recommend. Then we just choose as a group what to read. Sometimes it’s a biography, sometimes an author they love to read.

Attendance is not a choice, it’s expected. Of course, things come up like work, pleasure travel or illness, but other than this, they are to arrive, preferably on time, each week! If one of us is out of town, we zoom in to participate if at all possible.

For Scripture memory, passages are suggested in each of the Foundations books. The last group memorized the Sermon on the Mount during the year we were in the Foundations New Testament and it was so amazing. This year as my current D-Group began,I ask them to suggest a chapter to memorize during the time we read through the Old Testament. We just completed Isaiah 55 and have begun 1 Thessalonians 5. Next we will tackle Psalm 51 before heading into the New Testament and Matthew 5-7.

Before we end our group sometime in 2022, the young women will not only have led portions of our weekly meeting, they will have had several opportunities to lead the entire group time. This way they get to practice in a safe environment before heading into their own D-Group. They do not have to do it the way I do, but I want them to understand and support the overall process and expectations.

I truly believe women are ready for this kind of discipleship and if we hold the bar high, they will reach for it. No, not all women, but probably more than you think! No, not all will begin a D-Group right after yours ends. But many will, and prayerfully, the rest will at some point. So many of my young ladies have relocated to other cities, but I know God will use what they learned in our group for their own lives and in leadership opportunities.

I hope this has been inspirational and helpful. I pray God will prod you to consider beginning a D-Group of women who will then replicate these groups to more women, regardless of the method you use. Please let me know if you have questions, and take a look at these resources below to understand in more detail how my church does D-Groups.


Long Hollow D-Groups  

Replicate Ministries

Disciple Her-Kandi Gallaty


Disciple Her 

Long Hollow Group Leaders  (search for D-group podcast series)

Making Disciples 

Banner photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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