Discipleship & Group Ministries during COVID-19

April 17, 2020
Discipleship & Group Ministries during COVID-19

This article is one part of a complete guide for church ministry during COVID-19.

Find the rest of the guide here


The history of the church reveals times and seasons when large group gatherings and large buildings in which to gather were neither an option nor a consideration. The New Testament has numerous references to discipleship happening in homes. The way we group might be shifting during this season of church ministry, but the command to make disciples remains the same. Church leaders are making disciple making work in this difficult season. Below are some considerations for discipleship and group ministries:


    1. Discipleship & Group Meetings


      1. An article has been posted on the ABSC website by David Bond called “What Can You Do When Your Groups Can’t Group?”
  1. To view this article click here.
      1. Online groups are new to many church members. Include detailed instructions or tutorial videos of exactly when and where to find online groups, as well as how to log in to online group sessions. 
      2. Online groups are also new for most small group leaders. Spend the necessary time teaching them how to properly use Zoom, or other group conference programs, to ensure their group time is a quality gathering for group members. Give them the freedom and provide a format to ask questions, voice concerns, and give feedback along the way (i.e. Zoom has chat capabilities). 
      3. Try to keep business as usual – maybe even better than before.
        1. Make sure your group leaders keep attendance.  This is not for numbers, but to make sure everyone is cared for and connected during this time.
        2. Contact and train your leaders regularly.  You don’t have the occasion of catching them in the hall, so be intentional in regularly staying in touch with small group leaders.
        3. Gather information and follow up with prospects through your group ministry.  This is a great time to engage people who regularly attend worship but are not connected to a small group.
        4. Use your groups as your primary care ministry with phone calls, contacts, etc.


B.         Discipleship & Group Materials


      1. Many publishers have online resources and studies that are applicable to this current group dynamic.  Check out Lifeway’s, RightNow Media, Sampson Resources, and many others for online studies.
      2. Lifeway has also provided a full page of ministry resources – most of which are free through May 31st – specific to this time of the coronavirus and designed to help equip church small group leaders. 
        1. To view these resources, click here.
        2. Included on this page are the digital versions of the quarterly Bible curriculum, other online studies, prayer guides, and links to other resources. 
      3. Lead your church into a unified study time by creating a church-wide reading plan on the Bible app or just a list of passages to be read together. 
        1. Consider this to be a comprehensive devotion time. 
        2. Give members Bible passages and prayer topics for each day of the week, or possibly just 5 days of the week. Keep these daily devotional times brief, preferably 10-15 minutes.
        3. Try to review or allude to this plan – if only briefly – during the weekly worship to keep the members engaged.