Small group discipleship training can be highly effective when well managed. Someone needs to be thinking and planning. That person may be on the pastoral staff. A capable couple could be responsible. It can be a team of two or three people with a heart for discipleship. Organize in a way that best fits your church situation.
It is easy to overlook the need for thinking and planning when things seem to be going well.
Consider this scenario:
A church has one discipleship training group going through the first book in The 2:7 Series, Growing Strong in God’s Family. The group leader is doing a good job and those in the group seem to be learning and growing.
Then other people start asking to be in that kind of group. This puts a church at a point where someone needs to be responsible to think and plan—to manage. Here are a few questions that may need to be addressed:
- Will they start one more group or two or three more groups?
- Who will be the group leaders?
- How widely will they promote and recruit?
- When and where will the group(s) meet?
- How can these group meetings fit with other church activities?
- Who is responsible for ordering books for the groups?
Your First 2:7 Groups
If possible a church wants to think through the management and leadership issues before it starts The 2:7 Series with their first group.
When The 2:7 Series initially begins in a church, preferably the first two groups (six to ten people each) should be potential group leaders for future 2:7 groups. This will provide a strong base of leadership for subsequent years. It is a wise strategy to give priority to recruiting people with potential for future ministry. An investment in their training will reap dividends for years to come.
Recruiting and Promotion
You want to start with one or two groups with good leaders and people who volunteer for this training when they hear what it is. We don’t say “The whole Fidelis class will be going through book 1 in The 2:7 Series this next quarter.”
- Be honest with people. Let them know there is accountability—that they will need to do 1-2 hours of preparation each week. Also, describe some of the blessings and benefits they will receive if they participate in The 2:7 Series. In Luke 14 Jesus said that we should count the cost of discipleship before we start. Give people the facts they need in order to think and pray about joining a 2:7 group.
- Be somewhat selective in your recruiting. First, give a face to face, personal invitation to the highly potential and committed people you would like to see take this training—preferably those in their 20’s, 30’s or 40’s. When you have them recruited, a broad invitation can be given through the church bulletin and/or announcements from the pulpit. This will fill up the rest of your 2:7 class openings.
- Recruit some 2:7 graduates as group leaders. Graduates who are not interested in leading a 2:7 group will gravitate to areas of ministry of their own choosing. These graduates will strengthen many different ministries in a local church.
Selecting 2:7 Group Leaders
Here are some things to look for in selecting 2:7 group leaders
- They have a good reputation in the congregation. They are not rebels. They are not necessarily widely known, but are respected and appreciated by those who do know them.
- They have a fair grasp on the Scriptures. They should be more practical than academic in their approach to the Bible.
- They have good verbal skills. They can communicate ideas.
- With a couple, both the husband and wife should want to work together in helping other people. They may feel inadequate, but they must be a team.
- Normally singles should lead singles, and couples should lead couples. It works well to have a minority of singles in a couples group led by a couple. It is not good to have a minority of married people in a singles group led by a single. It has been proven more effective for single men to lead single men and for single women to lead single women.
- They should have a strong desire to see Christians mature and reach out in evangelism.
- Look for potential leaders. Those who are the current leaders and backbone of a local church are often unable to take on additional activities. Select those you suspect will gravitate to leadership responsibilities in the next two or three years. Leading a 2:7 group gives them superb training and experience.
- Look for people who: show spiritual hunger, are alert, demonstrate personal stability, think, have capacity, ask questions related to applying the Bible, are teachable, have a stable family or living situation, and are energetic. (This is a short characteristics list to consider.)
- Look for those who have good people skills. You will need relational people who can add the freshness, joy, and warmth of the personal touch as they relate to others from week to week.
Here on the website in the months ahead you can read descriptions and watch video clips that explain how other churches manage The 2:7 Series.
If your management pattern is working well with The 2:7 Series, you are welcome to send a written description and/or a “You Tube” type video clip under two minutes. We will sort through these and post some of them.
Who Is a 2:7 Manager?
This refers to pastoral staff or individuals who plan, organize and/or supervise the use of The 2:7 Series either in their church or in ministry activities apart from their local church. They may be directly involved with The 2:7 Series or have a responsibility where they need to stay informed about how The 2:7 Series is being used in their ministry context.