CORE GROUPS for discipleship
Our Core groups, provide a sharp focus on being and making healthy disciples.
So What Are Core Groups? The Core groups are simple. They consist of three people of the same gender who meet together once a week for about 45mins - 1hr, at whatever time they agree on. With only three people in each they are easy to organise. Core groups provide a way for us to keep each other mutually accountable as we choose to follow Jesus, and a way to pursue spiritual health.
The Focus of a Core Group is to:
- Regularly ask one another questions designed to keep us accountable to living faithfully and with purpose;
- Be committed to reading the Bible;
- Pray together specifically for opportunities to share the good news of Jesus.
This structure can be summarised as: Confession – Scripture – Prayer
The Advantages of Core Groups:
- Accountability, flexibility, reproducibility means greater opportunities for growth.
- No requirement for a curriculum or single leader: the model promotes self- discovery and shared responsibility.
- They form good habits based on spiritual disciplines.
- They make room for the Holy Spirit.
- They keep evangelism on the radar.
- They empower and prepare everyday Christians to be life long disciples.
Confession is used in a full sense of the word, meaning openness and ownership of one’s thoughts and actions.
This can include both confessing where you have fallen short or crossed a line (sin), and confessing the good things we are seeing in our lives or those around us.
One’s attitude should not be negative, but enabling – to have a clear conscience, to live faithfully, and be purposeful.
Scripture has always been important for faithful living for Christians through the centuries. Yet it is commonly neglected or squeezed out of busy lives. Our expectation is that Core groups take seriously the responsibility to read the bible. What parts will be read, and how much each week will be decided by the group (making sure it’s a good amount). The reading will be done outside of the group time, then each time they meet they will ask one another if they completed the reading, and should allow a short time to share if anything particularly stood out or was difficult to understand (which can then be pursued later). If someone wasn’t able to complete the reading, it is recommended that the entire group read the same sections again – this way everyone stays together in their reading, and people know there is a shared consequence if they don’t prioritise it. Help will be available to those who struggle to read or understand the Bible, though in the forum of the Core group the purpose is more to be reading scripture rather than studying it deeply (which can happen elsewhere), and so to become increasingly familiar with it’s story.
Prayer is an essential component of the Christian life (it is relating to God after all!) and can take many forms. In Core groups the emphasis is on ‘being and making faithful disciples’ so the focus of prayer is on these areas:
- For each other to be healed, restored, and empowered by the Holy Spirit
- Listening prayer – to listen together to what the Spirit is saying
- Praying for people in our lives to be drawn to Jesus
- Praying that we will be alert and responsive to the leading of the Spirit
- Praying for opportunities to share the good news of Jesus. As we consistently ask God to be active in these ways, we can expect our focus to become increasingly missional, and to see more and more opportunities.
Engaging regularly in these three activities of confession, scripture, and prayer, will help shape us as faithful disciples who make disciples.
So what is the lifetime of a Core group? That will depend on the group itself, but in general the group needs to be together long enough to establish a good rhythm and to become familiar with how a Core group works. Once that has been achieved, members should be on the lookout for people who can join in, with a view to forming new groups. Groups can grow organically – from three to four, and then become two groups of two, each group ready to have someone else join them in the pursuit of being faithful disciples.
Who should be invited to join? Look for those who are seeking a deeper understanding of God or a more meaningful life. They may be at any stage of the journey of faith, including those who have yet to encounter Jesus. There is no need for people to be Christians already – if they are open to exploring faith or spirituality, you can give them the opportunity to try it out and see what happens!
We can ask each other questions to keep accountable to living faithfully and with purpose, remembering that is important to value honesty, confidentiality. You can of course also add your own questions to those suggested here. Based on the needs of those in the group, you should select key questions to ask every time you meet, and you could also leave room for other questions that you vary.
- Have you been a testimony this week to Jesus Christ in your words and actions?
- Have you actively pursued God? Are you letting him in to every area of your life?
- In what ways have you experienced God’s presence this week?
- Do you have a sense of what God is saying to you at the moment?
- Where have you seen God at work in big or small ways this week?
- What spiritual gifts did the Spirit enable you to exercise this week and what was the outcome?
- What fruits of the Spirit would you like to see increase in your life?
- What are you thankful for at the moment?
- Have you been honouring, understanding, and generous in your important relationships this week?
- Have you damaged another person by your words, either behind their back or face to face?
- Have you remained angry with someone or held a grudge?
- What opportunities have you had to serve others or put them before yourself?
- Have you encountered any injustice or oppression to others and were you able to work for justice and peace? Has God put anyone on your mind/heart this week to pray for or serve?
- Have you lived with integrity this week?
- What temptations have you faced this week and how did you respond?
- Have you lacked any integrity in your financial dealings, or coveted something that does not belong to you?
- Have you given in to any addictive behavior this week or a habit you are trying to break?
- Have you looked at any sexually alluring material or allowed your mind to entertain inappropriate thoughts about someone this week?
- Is there anything that is really pushing your buttons at the moment?
- How are you getting rest/rejuvenation at the moment?
- What are you hoping/longing for at this time?
- Draft another question that would address your specific area of weakness/struggle.
- Have you been completely honest with me/us today?
- Draft another question that would address your specific area of gifting/calling.
- Did you finish the Bible reading for the week? Did anything particularly stand out for some reason? How can we pray for you today?