Discipleship doesn’t just happen in 90 minute sessions every other week. It’s a journey you take together that touches all parts of your life. But when you do get together to focus on growth, you need to know how to use your time effectively. Here’s how we define and organize our Meet-Up’s.
WHAT’S A MEET UP?
A Meet-Up is anytime a minimum of two people get together for the purpose of growing through discipleship. We suggest 90 minutes and every other week as a standard format with a few exceptions.
BALANCING YOUR TIME
We suggest you divide the time in your Meet-Up between Looking Back, Looking Up, and Looking Ahead. Here’s what we mean:
- Looking Back– 30 minutes of exploring recent growth,heart issues and praying
- Looking Up– 30 minutes of teaching/learning and asking questions
- Looking Ahead– 30 minutes of planning specific action steps
Our Meet-Up guide provides questions that you can use during each section. Here is what a Meet-Up Guide looks like. You can download it here.
Discipleship is not just passing off new information to someone. You have to care for the person you are working with. That’s hard to do if you don’t know what’s going on in their life. Use this time to ask how it’s going, what they’ve been learning, what they’re struggling with, and what they’re celebrating. Be careful though. Some people want to spend all of your time together in this section. Your Meet-Up can look more like a personal counseling session if you don’t move on. That may be important and needed but that’s not all disciple making is. Choose from any of the questions provided above in the Meet-Up guide to get the conversation started.
Whether you’re going through a book of the Bible, STAGES material, or something else, you can use these questions to guide your discussion. Don’t just simply read something together and then move on. Discipleship isn’t a “For Your Information” endeavor. It’s a “For Your Transformation” process. This makes the next section critical.
This is your chance to create a solid obedience plan for the person you’re working with. The first question is so important. “After considering what was discussed in our “Look Back” and “Look Up” time, what are some specific action steps to commit to?” Make sure they answer with simple goals that you can check up in your next meet-up. Transformation fuels and is fueled by obedience. Your disciple’s growth will never outpace their obedience to what God is showing them. You also have a place to monitor your disciples Growth Rhythms. These are the behaviors of growing Christians. You don’t have to create a new list for every meet-up. Just make sure to update or affirm the rhythms as needed.
FREQUENCY AND GROUPING OF MEET-UPS
For New Believers
The frequency and grouping of meet-ups is flexible to your context but we do have some recommendations. New BELIEVERS especially need to meet at a higher frequency than a DISCIPLE training to be a DISCIPLE MAKER for example. We recommend getting together with new BELIEVERS at least once a week for the first 6-8 weeks. Scripture identifies this as a crucial time and so should we (Matthew 13:18-23). Babies are highly dependent on parents because they don’t know how to take care of themselves. The same can be said of BELIEVERS.
For Everyone Else
For everyone else, we recommend an every-other-week frequency for personal discipleship using the STAGES approach. This leaves time for participation in other things like small groups and other activities. Discipleship is not for a season in a Christian’s life but a continual part of spiritual growth. It is a life long process and we should engineer our personal discipleship relationships for the long haul. Meet-Ups should be designed to last 90 minutes and to balance people’s tendency to either just socialize or just get into material. We want to help you make the best use of the time you commit to discipleship.
How Many Should Meet?
Again, flexibility is necessary for each context but keep in mind that the larger the group, the more difficult it is to personalize their discipleship. We recommend groups of three or triads. Ideally you would have a DISCIPLE MAKER, a DISCIPLE, and either a BELIEVER or CURIOUS person meeting together in a triad. DISCIPLES are essentially DISCIPLE MAKERS in training if they are growing. They know how to feed themselves spiritually but need to learn how to feed others. In some cases, one-on-ones are necessary but not always ideal. Any Meet-Up between a DISCIPLE MAKER and a BELIEVER is potential training for a DISCIPLE.
Meeting With People In Different Stages
If you are meeting in a triad of people in different STAGES you have to be creative in how you can go over STAGE specific material for each. Here is one solution for a DISCIPLE MAKER, DISCIPLE, BELIEVER triad.
This solution can be used with any combination of STAGES in your Meet-Ups. An important question is “when does a DISCIPLE MAKER meet with someone for their own growth?” We recommend that DISCIPLE MAKERS meet with each other or with church leadership once a month for mutual encouragement and accountability. The frequency may slow for them but the challenge of meeting with DISCIPLES, BELIEVERS, and the CURIOUS will also spark its own growth in the DISCIPLE MAKER’S life.
If you are ready to get started, go back to the HOME page and select the STAGE you want resources for. If you still unclear about how STAGES works, go to the STAGES EXPLAINED page and look things over.