For several weeks I have been writing about the eight practices of missional communities, what Campus Renewal Ministries calls “Spark Groups.” These eight practices are described with greater detail in CRM’s Spark Course, which trains missional community leaders.
This is the aim of missional communities: to produce disciples. It’s the aim of missional communities because it is the aim of the Great Commission. Jesus said, “Go make disciples of all nations.” The goal is to make disciples, not converts.
So the question is: “How do we make disciples?” Jesus answers that question in the same sentence. By “teaching them to obey all I have commanded you.”
Read the Bible
The ultimate goal is to start reading the Bible with students in your people group. The word of God is alive and true, so when your friends read Jesus’s teaching and see His life they are more apt to be drawn to Him. It’s not enough for them to hear you explain the gospel, they need to read it for themselves.
It does not matter if it is a small group Bible study or one-on-one. The important thing is that friends in your people group who are seeking God begin reading the Bible and that you meet with them weekly to talk about it.
Keep it Simple
There are great resources for Bible studies out there, but we believe it is better to keep it simple by just reading the Bible. If you have a friend willing to read the Bible with you, have them read a book of the Bible or several chapters a week. Have them look for three things while they read. We like to think of it this way:
- Lightbulb: What did I learn from the reading?
- Question Mark: What questions did it raise?
- Arrow: What does it ask me to do?
Focus on Jesus
The best place to start reading the Bible with a friend who is seeking God is the gospels. You want them to see the life and teachings of Jesus and to consider about his death and resurrection. Jesus and the gospel message can be found throughout scripture so there is no wrong place to start but Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are the best starting points.
Justin Christopher is the director of Campus Renewal Ministries at the University of Texas and author of Campus Renewal: A Practical Plan for Uniting Campus Ministries in Prayer and Mission. He gives leadership to the Campus House of Prayer and the misssonal community movement at the University of Texas.