Home > Uncategorized > Theology of Community pt. 4: Discipleship Happens in Relationships

Theology of Community pt. 4: Discipleship Happens in Relationships


This is part 4 in a series where I’m trying to work out a theology of Community. How to think biblically about something that has become increasingly foreign to the cultures most of us live in: life together. This series hits at the heart of my blog’s title “life as we” because my hope is it directly confronts the “life as me” mentality we are immersed in. ( To be fair, in this post and the next you will see it scripted a little more for small group leader training. I apologize where that may throw you off.) 

Part 1: Created For Community by Community

Part 2: Community is Messy

Part 3: Community is Centered on Jesus

Part 4: Discipleship Happens in Relationships

If you are like me, the calendar pretty much dictates your life. I am like this to a fault, no doubt. My life is scheduled. And because it is, I know exactly what I can commit to in what time slots. In essence, my life is a series of time slots. Many of us schedule work and social life similarly. Put it on the calendar, with a reminder, maybe prepare for the meeting, go to it, and do any follow up that needs taking care of. Here is the one principle you gotta get out of this segment: Small Groups are communities, not weekly meetings. REPEAT. You cannot build community without investing time.
What this means:
1. You are inviting people to live life, not just 2 hours, with you. In your group, Cast that vision from the start. The meeting is important, but primarily as a jumping off point. Most significant spiritual growth moments rarely in a circle with 12 people. often in 1-1 or 1-3 moments with people from the 12. Think about the most spiritually formative moments of your life. For many, they come in conversations over coffee, at a baseball game, or even while watching a tv show together. They happen while doing life together, not just in a meeting space. Keep that in mind.
2. Learn the rhythms of your life. This doesn’t mean you schedule even more meetings. It means you repurpose what you are already doing! Do you shop at the grocery store? Shop with a friend from group. Do you watch a certain TV show? do it with some folks from group. Do you get delicious fast food after church on the weekend? Do it with friends. If you are starting to think…good grief spence they might as well be family….then we are getting somewhere. THAT SAID, don’t kill yourself. You still need you time ok. And only you knows how much that is. Hopefully it will feel a little exhausting at first, then very rewarding from then on.
3. Build margin into your life. This is bigger than this training, but if you are going at 110% already, how can you say yes to the girl in your group who invites you to come bake cupcakes for her son’s birthday party the next day? Or to the guy whose garage door just broke and needs a hand fixing it?
Bottom line, if you rely on 120 programmed minutes a week to build real, transparent, gospel centered friendships you will get frustrated. You are building a community, not a meeting. Don’t forget it, and don’t let your group forget it either.
1. How does starting a community versus a meeting impact your perspective on leading a small group?
2. Thinking about your calendar, how much “free time” do you have built in? where could you build some in?
3. What are some rhythms in your life you could invite others in your group into?
Categories: Uncategorized
  1. August 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Really enjoyed this post. We teach discipleship as well, and we loved how you gave great instruction in the context of community, particularly the concept of “living life” with one another through the everyday (grocery stores, eating out, etc.) We feel the concept of being on mission, and missionary, is changing to include things such as that… hopeful to see a culture of change that adopts such mindsets.

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