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Discipleship Training Groups

What they are

  • Discipleship Training Groups have 3-12 members, usually of the same gender, who meet weekly for one year of intense discipleship training.
  • A Discipleship Training Group differs from other small groups in that its purpose does not include the evangelization of its participants but seeks rather to establish and equip people who exhibit a clear and strong hunger for living a life of intense Christian discipleship.
  • Growing disciples in the community who are identified as being faithful, available, and teachable are invited to be part of a Discipleship Training Group.

Key Elements

  • The goal of a Discipleship Training Group is to establish each participant in the basics of being Christ’s disciple and to equip them to make disciples.
  • Three hallmarks of a good Discipleship Training Group are a shared desire for intense discipleship, Christian community, and vision for the ministry
  • Weekly meetings for an hour
  • Faithful, available & teachable disciples of Christ
  • Each participant signs and wholeheartedly agrees to Discipleship Commitment (See sample in the EC Handbook’s section on ministry implementation)
  • Almost always separated by gender
  • A skilled and respected leader/mentor in the parish or campus ministry community
  • Scripture memory work

Formational Goals

  1. Being Christ’s Disciple (1st half)
  2. Making Disciples (2nd half)

F.A.T.

  • FAITHFUL—to Christ, the Church, the Discipleship Training Group, and their other commitments
  • AVAILABLE—to come every week at the appointed time
  • TEACHABLE—an open disposition toward truth from wherever it comes, with a particular interest in learning from the DiscipleshipTraining leader and the other group participants

Intensity

One of the distinctive traits of Discipleship Training Groups is their intensity. This intensity is generated by several factors, including the invitation, the commitment to the group, the single-gendered composition, the memorization of Scripture, and a leader who is inspiring and capable. As anyone who works in parish or campus ministry knows, getting young men involved is extremely challenging and yet absolutely essential. We have found that male Discipleship Training Groups—when led by a man whom other men respect—to be singularly effective in engaging men in the life of discipleship and the work of ministry in the Church.

Sample Format

7:00 a.m. – Read, prayer, meditate over a passage from Scripture or some spiritual book.
7:10 – Review Scripture memory in pairs.
7:15 – Share victories or struggles in daily prayer times.
7:20 – Review some material from previous lesson(s).
7:25 – Present new lesson (this is done by the leader or someone appointed by leader.)
7:45 – Homework
7:50 – Conversational Prayer
8:00 –  Conclude

Devotion to Scripture

You’ll note that Scripture memory is part of our D. T. Groups. It’s mandatory.

Obviously, you don’t have to make Scripture memory part of your D.T. Group, but we have found over the years that a shared devotion to the Scriptures and commitment to memorizing verses together to be a significant part of the bonding and intensity of the experience. If potential D.T. Group participants don’t want to memorize Scripture because they don’t think it’s necessary or it’s not really part of their spirituality we simply say that we understand and that it sounds like the Discipleship Training Group is not quite their thing. Anyone who wants to be part of the group needs to make the same commitment as all other participants, for obvious reasons.

Curriculum for One Academic Year

Being Christ’s Disciple

  1. Christ the Center and Introduction to the Wheel
  2. Church and the Sacraments
  3. Obedience
  4. Word
  5. Word (continued)
  6. Prayer
  7. Prayer (continued)
  8. Intense Christian Community
  9. Evangelization
  10. Costly Christian Discipleship
  11. Renunciation of All for Jesus Christ
  12. Denial of Self for Jesus Christ

Making Disciples

  1. Three E’s of Evangelical Catholic Ministry
  2. Jesus as Disciplemaker
  3. Jesus as Disciplemaker
  4. Paul as Disciplemaker
  5. Paul as Disciplemaker
  6. Four Privileged Settings of Evangelical Catholic Ministry
  7. Evangelization in the Modern World Pope Paul VI
  8. Evangelization in the Modern World Pope Paul VI
  9. Lost Art of Disciplemaking by Leroy Eims
  10. Lost Art of Disciplemaking by Leroy Eims
  11. The Master Plan of Evangelization by Robert Coleman
  12. Evangelization practicum
  13. Establishing practicum
  14. Equipping practicum

What Does a Discipleship Training Group Look Like?

EC Live! Discipleship Training Group

Discipleship Training Groups provide an opportunity for in-depth discipleship and leadership training.