FAQ About Discipleship

FAQ about Discipleship - Disciplemaking Teachers

Disciplemaking teachers commit to making an investment into the lives of their students not merely showing up just to teach a lesson. Here are some frequently asked questions about that.

3 FAQ Questions Bible Teachers Have about Their Role in Discipleship

Why isn’t teaching a Bible lesson enough?

God commissions all believers to make disciples (Matt. 28:18-20). Bible teachers are in a unique position to do so since students come to them, to their class. When we see teaching as an investment into people’s lives rather than just showing up, teaching, and doing what we need to get by, our purpose, perspective, and passion goes to a whole different level. That is addressed in this article: Are Your Bible Teachers Making an Investment or Just Getting By? You can also find help working through this question in this worksheet: DISCIPLESHIP: Isn’t teaching a lesson enough?

What’s the ultimate goal of discipleship?

If we look at Jesus’ Great Commission to go and make disciples, we see that the goal is two-fold — baptizing them and teaching them to obey. So, in discipleship we have these two objectives: 1) to help people find and express their identity in the Lord (That’s what happens in baptism.) 2) to help people align with the Lord (That’s what happens when we obey everything He commands us.) In essence, it’s about helping people become full devoted followers of Jesus Christ.

What if my students don’t want to be discipled?

We can’t force people to spend time outside of the classroom in discipleship efforts but we certainly can make the best use of the time we have in-class or any other contact we might have with them. View discipling as developing an environment conducive to growth, not merely another meeting or program. In this environment we help to create a thirst within them. Coupled with much prayer, over time, those students may want to drink.

Our role for some students may just be to lay a foundation, planting a seed, so to speak, that someone else will water down the road and then someone else, etc., until the seed begins to sprout. — This is why we should never give up. Many stories have been told by Bible teachers of students seen as apathetic and not wanting to grow spiritually, years down the road relaying how God used those teachers in ways they never would have imagined. Bottom line: Our responsibility is to be faithful stewards. We trust God to bring the growth. See 1 Corinthians 3:6-15.

Growth in the Fear of the Lord Jehovah

As we begin to truly understand and believe in our Jehovah God, we develop a reverential trust in the fullness of who He is, trusting that He is the Sovereign One, the One of whom there is none greater, and therefore to be obeyed and worshiped — what the Bible refers to as “the fear of the Lord” (Ps. 111:10). Such a healthy, reverential awe and trust leads to great benefits and blessings. Therein lies the wisdom, protection, and help we need in life.

Let’s pray that Bible teachers themselves more and more develop this kind of view of God and pass it on by word and example to their students.

Pray for Growth in the Fear of the Lord, Jehovah.

Growth in the Fear of the Lord JehovahThe fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. (Ps. 111:10)

You who fear him, trust in the LORD – he is their help and shield. (Ps. 115:11)

  • Pray for the hearts of teachers to love and fear the LORD more completely (Deut. 6:5-7).
  • Pray that teachers present to students a Most High God whose name is the LORD … Jehovah (Ps. 83:18).
  • Pray that the LORD is revered in all that is done in the classroom setting.
  • Pray that teachers guide students in loving, worshiping, and revering the LORD, Jehovah.

The above prayer suggestions are taken from the July guide in the Praying for Bible Teachers Throughout the Year Guide Download. (Click on the link to learn more about this resource.)

Guiding Questions for Group Discussion

Use Guiding Questions to Keep Group Discussions from FloppingWhen teachers rely solely on discussion questions provided in curriculum or study guides, they run the risk of it not connecting with their students and so the group discussion flops. Sometimes simply by knowing your particular students and understanding group dynamic, you can be prepared by making tweaks to the lesson so it fits better.

But there will also be times you aren’t prepared for the silence. Students might need time to think so teachers shouldn’t be afraid of a little silence. But, teachers also need to know when it’s time to jump in to help make the questions clear and keep the discussion moving.

Guiding Questions That Help CLEAR the Way for a Better Group Discussion

Start with the question provided in the curriculum but then take it to the next step if group members do not further the discussion on their own. Ask questions like the following to get them thinking CLEAR-ly about where to go with the discussion.

Clarifying Questions

  • Could you explain what you mean by that?
  • Could you rephrase what you just said?

Listing Questions

  • Could you give an example?
  • Could you give us an illustration of that?

Extending Questions

  • What can you add to what has been said?
  • Do you have any more thoughts on that?

Analyzing Questions

  • What reasoning is behind your answer?
  • Do you know of any Scripture to back that up?

Re-directing Questions

  • What does somebody else think?

When Small Group Discussions Flop

Consider this Scenario:

You purchased a discussion guide you thought would be good for your class. You know another group leader who used it and said it was one of the best small group studies they ever did. Your group, however, just sat there staring at you offering little interaction. What they did share was short and shallow. You finished the sessions early. What went wrong?

Why Small Group Discussions Flop & What to Do

In the case of the above scenario the discussion might have flopped for several reasons. What to do depends on the cause.

1) Perhaps the subject matter of the discussion wasn’t as relevant to your students as it was to the other group or your class lacked sufficient background knowledge to discuss the questions.

What to Do: Build relationships with your students so you get to know them better — their needs, interests, abilities, level of spiritual maturity, etc. Then you will be more likely to choose content that relates to them or tweak it so it does.

2) Perhaps the group dynamic of your class differed from the other class.

What to Do: Understand the effects of different factors on group dynamic and how to compensate.

3) Perhaps you, the teacher, relied solely on the questions in the study, which didn’t connect with your students.

What to Do: Learn to use guiding questions that help students think it through better. The next post will provide an acrostic of the kinds of questions that will help students be CLEAR and keep the discussion moving. Be sure to check back for that post. Better yet, subscribe to receive e-mail notice of new posts.

When Small Group Discussions Flop

Additional Bible Teachers Training Resources to Help with Using Questions and Discussion: