The Congregation at Duke University Chapel

Thoughts on Discipleship

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Thoughts on Discipleship and Discipleship Ministry in the Congregation

presentation at Adult Forum by
Michael Larbi, Pastoral Assistant for Discipleship
December 8, 2019

In this session, we continued the discussion started on November 3.

The Congregation at Duke Chapel
Discipleship Small Group Pilots in 2020

The following are some notes being considered and planned for to kick off Discipleship Small Group Pilots in early 2020.

  1. Purpose, Focus and Character of Discipleship Small Groups
  2. Pilot Participants
    • These would be members who volunteer to be leaders of discipleship small groups in the Congregation.
    • The leader volunteer group would be divided into groups of 8-12 members.  Thus, it is expected we could have with 2 or 3 pilot small groups.
  3. Logistics of Pilot Groups
    • Frequency: Ideally weekly; If necessary, biweekly
    • Duration:
      • Pilot to last 12 weeks, starting in the first week of February and run through April.
      • Additional pilots or groups may be started over the summer
      • Each small group meeting will be approximately 75 minutes
    • Meeting Locations:
      • Review list of participants and seek volunteers to host
      • Should depend on geographic clustering 
      • Should be easy to find
    • Name: What name should the Congregation adopt for its discipleship small groups?
      • Possible names include: Life Groups, Covenant Groups, Small Groups, Life Together, Discipleship Group
      • Suggestions welcome!
  4. Rules Governing Groups
    • Each group should formulate a covenant to guide it
    • Typical components are:
      • Faithful attendance and participation
      • Maintaining confidentiality
      • Empathetic listening, refraining from unsolicited advice-giving
      • Respecting differences, openness to learning from others
      • Honor to the time
  5. Format/Components of Discipleship Small Group Meetings
    • It is important to have some common elements in each discipleship small group meeting.
    • Initial thoughts 
      • Share Food: either a snack or a meal (15 minutes)
      • Share Spiritual Food for Thought (15 minutes)
        • Could rotate leadership within the group to share some Biblical or theological content
        • Perhaps build on educational theme for the year of “discernment”
        • Perhaps offer practical guidance on spiritual disciplines
      • Share our Stories (30 minutes)
        • Prompts could build off of the spiritual food
        • Prompts could follow life journey: e.g. spiritual/religious experiences as a child, youth, adult, etc. Over the season of the pilot, it may result in a spiritual autobiography
        • Allow each person to speak without interruptions
      • Colossians 3:16 moment
      • Prayer Together (15 minutes)
        • Articulate prayer requests 
        • Pray for each other