I have been a part of more discipleship groups (or d-groups as the cool kids call them) than I can remember. Of all the groups I have participated in over the years, I have seen them work one of two ways.

Option one: One person, who is obviously the most spiritual, asks a few younger and therefore less spiritual (goes without saying right?) people to meet with them weekly. The goal is for the younger to sit at the feet of the older as they all move forward in their spiritual lives together.

These groups usually begin with great gusto. We are all pretty open with each other about what we are learning and even meet outside of group time to study the Bible and talk about life. Yet, over time, we begin to think we are not growing as much as the other members. We hear about their victory over sin and believe there is something wrong with us. As we continue to see the best in the other people in our group while knowing the truth about how sinful we really are, we begin to lie. We put on masks to hide our struggles. We slowly become less than who we really are because we thought the only option was to be moving forward in holiness (or at least giving that appearance). When we do it this way, Jesus sometimes leaves the building.

I have been there and done that. I have the bloody t-shirt to prove it. 

There is another way, however. It doesn’t involve hiding behind a mask. It isn’t about putting our best foot forward. One person, or sometimes two, decides they will lead (or maybe a better word is facilitate) a group. These leaders don't pretend to be more holy or spiritual than the others. As these groups begin to meet, the members slowly begin to reveal more and more of themselves to each other. The goal is not to get better. In fact, some weeks we don’t even talk about getting better at all. Instead, we meet together to know Jesus more. He is our goal.

We laugh, pray, and encourage each other with the truth. Sometimes we even cry together. We do life together and because of the truth of the gospel, we don’t have to pretend. Since we are all messed up and know it, the pressure to perform is gone. After all, we all know that Jesus had some pretty harsh things to say about the people that performed well.

So let me encourage you to give joining a discipleship group a shot. Forget about any hesitations to not join a group because you don’t have it all together. The fact that you don’t have it all together is central to the message of the gospel. Instead, step out and allow yourself to know other people and be known.

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