We are so glad that you have decided to participate in Discipleship Academy. Designing a course will take some effort, but we hope that it will be worth it to you. We ask that that each course follow the format below and be targeted to be about 90 minutes in length.
What you need to prepare:
Welcome: 10 minutes
A time to get to know each other, catch up, and find out how each person is doing this week. People will share what is going on in their lives. Joys and concerns should be noted in the prayer journal for intercessory prayer during the worship time.
Worship: 10 minutes
Time is taken out to be in communion with Christ through the Holy Spirit. A variety of forms may be used. Choose one a hymn and one contemporary song to go along with your theme. Recorded music suggestions are also appropriate, as are practices such as centering prayer- labyrinths etc. (Contact us if you need help) Have one written prayer or small liturgy for each session.
Word: 10 minutes
Since part of Discipleship Academy’s mission is familiarity with Scripture. Each session should have a focus text from the Bible. The text should be around one to two paragraphs in length.
Work: 40 minutes
Come up with 6-10 discussion questions for your group. Each question should have information for the facilitator to give background to the question, and help move the group forward if they get stuck.
Don’t forget fellowship time after the meeting. Refreshments are great!!!
The purpose of this portion of the meeting is to get to know one another, build friendship, and trust.
As the meeting continues and trust builds this time will serve as a check up for each member. Prayer requests are taken for the prayer journal.
The facilitator may structure this part of the meeting in the way that works best for their group.
Facilitator will ask the team if there are any birthdays, anniversaries or other life milestones going on in the group, these are also kept in the prayer journal
The facilitator can use some common ice breaking technique for each meeting. Lots of books are available for this on Amazon or at your local bookstore.
Informal discussion is more than appropriate.
Some ideas of community building ice breakers are:
Introductions: Used whenever a new group starts or when a new member shows up. Each person introduces who they are, where they live, their family members, their career, their interests, and why they come to this cell team meeting.
Highs and Lows (Kyrie & Gloria): Each person at the meeting shares their high point and low point of the week. These form the basis for the prayer portion of the work section of the cell team meeting. This can become more common when a trust level is built up and maintained.
Favorite things: Each person is asked to identify a favorite movie, activity, food, time of year, sports team etc. and why they feel they way. This helps people in the group learn about the character of person.
Surprise: Each person is asked to reveal one thing that the group may or may not know about the person.
Interview/ Report: The group breaks up into pairs and the two interview each other using the techniques above. They then report to the group the responses of the person they interviewed.
The worship style should be tailored to meet the needs and abilities of those gathered for the meeting.
The goal is for the team to be in communion with Christ through the Holy Spirit.
Singing of hymns or praise choruses can help people connect with God in a way beyond words. Some groups may be too self conscious to find this uplifting. Other techniques may be used.
It is best to come up with an overall style of worship for the group and to have some variation from time to time to keep it from becoming stale. Some worship ideas that may be used include:
Hymn Singing: Coupled with an opening and prayer it is a chance for those in the group to sing hymns familiar and comforting to them. Hymns are chosen that the group is likely to know (i.e. Amazing Grace).
Meditation: Quite time with God. It is introduced by a prayer inviting people center their selves in God’s Holy Spirit. A reading may be used to help the group focus. A simple way for this to be facilitated is after the opening payer to have three different voices to read the text appointed for the evening with periods of silence in between and a closing prayer at the end after a period of silence. Centering prayer or even using a Labyrinth may be helpful
Recorded music: Traditional hymns and contemporary Christian music are readily available in CD or in downloadable format. The church has some that leaders can borrow. Recorded music can be used to help lead a hymn sing or to set a quiet atmosphere for meditation.
Traditional Prayer Liturgies: The Lutheran book of Worship has a number of traditional prayer liturgies for use at different times of the day. These include Morning Prayer (Matins), Midday Prayer (Suffrages #2) Evening Prayer (Vespers) and Prayer at the Close of the Day (Compline) and the Great Litany can all be used with music or spoken.
Devotional Liturgies: There are a wider variety of materials available for home based worship.
A one to two paragraph text is used to center the session in the Word
Know the text well (read and pray beforehand). You may want to read the text more than once so people can listen to the Word more deeply
Ask to the group to give feedback on the text.
The plain meaning of the text is the most important reading. Avoid jumping to conclusions that are not there!
Keep the group focused on the text and theme at hand.
Be acquainted with the context of the passage; be prepared to fill in back ground info.
Come up with a list of 6-10 questions relating to your theme
Task facilitators to choose 3-5 questions that best resonate with them as the basis for the discussion. (they can come back to the remaining if they have time)
Make sure that the questions lead to life application with the goal of transformation
Ask the “so what” question.
Try to use open ended questions rather than closed (yes or no) questions.
To keep the groups grounded ask these two evaluation questions: What did we learn about Jesus this meeting?
Design questions to facilitate rather than instruct.
Use the SIMPLE category of the further practice section at the end to task participants in faith practices during the week.
Use the DEEP and DEEPER sections to offer more intensive reading and study on the topic.