Ultimately, discipleship is a large part of what happens in groups and since discipleship can come off as intimidating to some, let's set a good baseline: being a disciple means you're a follower of Jesus (in its simplest terms it means "learner"). That's pretty open ended which is why we use the 4 I's and the idea of spiritual babies, teenagers and adults to clearly express the main tenants of discipleship, spiritual formation and the goal of our groups. Let's start with defining discipleship.
BABIES, TEENAGERS AND ADULTS
To fully describe the full process of discipleship and spiritual growth we use the idea of spiritual babies, teenagers and adults. Take a minute to watch these videos that define each.
THE 4 I'S
Lastly, we overlay one last element to add another layer of depth to understanding discipleship...it's the 4 I's. The 4 I's are a shorthand for what Jesus modeled when He led the disciples. Here's a little more on the 4 I's and how it works with the idea of spiritual babies, teenagers and adults.
God is always inviting us into a deeper relationship with Him but it's important to recognize there are an infinite number of ways for Him to do so. Are you listening, watching, and open to it? Is there a way for you to help others see His invitation and remove obstacles in the way?
Learning happens when you get new information. Growth happens when you apply that information to your life. These two traits are dependent on one another but can often result in conflict. Are you resistant to new ideas? Are you just looking for solid ground to stand on?
Think of a person you admire spiritually. How do they live their life? Make decisions? Interact with others? When you imitate a person, you adopt their traits and behavior as your own, for better or worse. If someone were to imitate you, would you feel pride or shame?
You can never reach perfection but you can always improve. Are you motivated to try new things even if they don't work? Are you challenged to hit new goals? How can you motivate others?
The 4 I's are a good place to start when leading others in becoming a disciple of Jesus. But they're also important for our spiritual growth beyond groups. The questions and thoughts raised will always have new answers and challenges to face. That's why it's called a journey and not a destination.