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Discipleship, Tips and Troubleshooting

Extending Challenges

Albemarle 1-29-11

Spiritual growth comes through holding people accountable whenever they accept challenges.

How do you end your Bible Storying session? What do you expect from your participants?

Small group leaders avoid “preaching and teaching,” but engage the group with probing questions. Some questions can be like lobbing a fireball over the wall and watching the sparks fly! Sometimes questions can lead to the need for more Bible knowledge. At other times, the questions can initiate soul-searching.But what do you do to encourage spiritual growth? Do you extend an invitation and just let anyone volunteer that wants to? Sometimes you have to challenge the participants. In the class I am currently leading for new believers, I started out the first session by telling the story of Jesus Calling Simon Peter that included Jesus praying all night before choosing the Twelve. As the class ended, I extended a challenge for the class members to spend 30 minutes on a walk in which they talked and listened to God. Not everyone did the assignment, but those who did came back were hungry to know more about how to pray. The older gentleman confessed that halfway into the praying and walking, he was down to “thanking God for my dog.” Not only was he hungry for more, those who failed to do the assignment recommitted to doing it. They felt they had been left out of an opportunity to walk with God!

Discussion reveals intent, beliefs, and behaviors. And that’s what disciple-making is all about. It’s not about “teaching the lesson,” but having small groups discover God’s Truths and apply them to their lives. And watching spiritual growth take place is the result.

So don’t be afraid to extend challenges, but if you do, keep track of who does them. Invest time with individuals who fail to do them after two sessions. Is there a sin issue? Is there something interfering? This is godly accountability that keeps the group active and growing!

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About Mark Snowden

TruthSticks originated from the book I co-authored with the late Avery Willis. Truth That Sticks: How to Communicate Velcro Truths in a Teflon World was the book and this blog and Bible studies have resulted. It's great to be partnering with churches who are committed to making disciple-makers. Request a catalog of Bible studies using orality at SnowdenMinistries@gmail.com.

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