Melissa is a mom to active young children and her husband works long hours. She felt like her life was spinning out of control. Convinced that she’d keep perspective if she could to find even minutes alone with God, she asked her triad to hold her accountable to do that. She now finds regular time to read the Bible and pray. She believes God led her to simplify her life by quitting a couple of part-time jobs. Besides feeling like a better mom, the extra time enables her to be present in her neighborhood and to start a neighborhood prayer group for the local school.
Karen had been around the church for a while, but hesitated to surrender her life to Jesus. Through the study of John and the persistent love, prayers, and challenges of a triad guide she crossed the line of faith.
John’s friend had walked away from God and the church several years ago. During a recent spiritual conversation, John invited him to come to his next triad meeting. He’s been attending ever since and continues to ask questions about God and faith.
Randy never seriously read the Bible before and now can’t stop.
These stories are only a few of how God has worked through Discipleship Triads and Quads at CenterPointe, a young church plant in Plainfield, IL. As the Spiritual Formation Coordinator, I’m amazed at how the Spirit changes lives through regular reflection on the truth of the Bible in accountable, trustful relationships with two or three others.
CenterPointe’s leaders were captured by Greg Ogden’s thesis:
The church urgently needs to recapture its original mission of making disciples of Jesus by creating intimate, relational environments of multiplication and transformation.
We knew that if our church community is to live out its mission to inspire a lifelong journey with Christ one person, one community, one step at a time, we needed to be intentional about developing disciples of Jesus. Learning to love and follow Christ naturally leads to serving in and with the community. This is been borne out as watch God form people through accountability around the Word and respond with acts of service.
Ogden’s book, Transforming Discipleship, and information on Neil Cole’s Life Transformation Groups convinced ministry leaders that triads and quads would be an effective strategy for spiritual growth in our context. They were launched at a 24 hour spiritual retreat where spiritual disciplines were taught and practiced. Participants experienced triad or quad life during the retreat.
Discipleship triads and quads at CenterPointe are shaped by five essentials:
- Discovering the truth of the Bible
- Honest, truthful relationships
- Mutual accountability
- Incorporating spiritual habits into daily lives
- Multiplication of triads and quads
The session format is a hybrid of elements taught by Ogden and Cole. Weekly or bi-weekly sessions include:
- Accountability questions that apply to daily living (e.g. How have you seen God at work in your life this week?)
- Focus on a spiritual discipline
- Reflecting on several chapters in the Bible and asking accountability questions based on the passage (e.g. What do you think God is saying to you in this passage? How will you respond?)
God has used discipleship triads and quads at CenterPointe in ways far beyond those imagined:
- Reading the Bible for transformation rather than information has resulted in life change and obedience to His leading
- People are learning to hear God’s voice through scripture and others
- People are more likely to follow God’s leading when held accountable
- Some have re-oriented their lives to include spiritual disciplines
- The longer groups have been together, the more open and vulnerable people have become
- Discipleship triads and quads alongside serving opportunities in the community combine to develop disciples
- Participants have begun to invite neighbors to their group
- A couple of people made first time commitments to Jesus as Savior and Lord
- Many Bibles have been given to people who had never read one
- People who thought they could never guide a triad or quad are doing it very effectively
- Lives are being changed!
What stories about triads and quad do you have to share? What questions do you have about this strategy for disciple making? If you post them here, we can get the conversation started. You can also email me at [email protected].