Malachi Gandy says hardly a week goes by that he doesn’t run into discipleship happening when he’s out and about in Troy.
His wife is part of a discipleship group that meets at a local coffee shop on Monday nights. If he goes into Chick-fil-A on a Wednesday or a Thursday night, he bumps into another group or two.
“It doesn’t matter where you go throughout the week, you’re running into discipleship in community, and I think that’s a great testimony,” he said.
Gandy himself has a group that meets on Friday mornings at McDonalds.
“This is my second one — it’s been going on for a little more than a year,” he said. “There’s four of us in it, folks in all phases of life.”
They study the Bible together. They hold each other accountable. They ask each other the tough questions.
And eventually, they’ll each move on and start new groups.
And that makes Dwayne Norman, pastor of Bush Memorial Baptist Church, Troy, thank God for what He’s done.
About three years ago, Norman got the church started with what he called D groups, three or four people meeting together for the purpose of discipleship and then multiplication.
“It doesn’t always work out this way, but we try to be intentional about being intergenerational, about pairing older people with younger people and college students,” he said.
Since it started, the church has seen growth, both spiritually and numerically. In November 2015 six people were baptized, followed by seven more on consecutive Sundays.
“We’ve got a lot to celebrate,” Norman said, adding that “some of those new believers stem from the D group ministry, and for the others we are trying to get them involved in D groups so they can be discipled.”
When Bush Memorial Baptist first started D groups in 2013, it used the curriculum “Discipleship Essentials.” Since then a shift was made to other books or simply to studying the Bible itself, he said.
It’s something God has really moved in as the church focused on discipling as Jesus did — in the framework of living life together, Norman said.
“We’re trying to do it the way Jesus did,” he said. “I didn’t want it to be something that was just for a season. This is too important. It’s equipping people to do the work of ministry.”
Because of that, Norman has intentionally worked to keep casting the vision for the congregation.
And as Bush Memorial has stayed pointed in the direction of missions and discipleship, leaders and members have seen God expand their ministry way past the city limits.
With the ministry to college students at Troy University, the church has seen how far discipleship can reach.
Opportunities to disciple
“It’s been an opportunity for us to disciple them while they’re here and teach them to disciple others, then send them out,” Norman said. “And God has sent them literally all over the world.”
For example, one college student graduated and moved overseas to share the gospel in a closed country.
“God is using him mightily, and we had a small part to play in his spiritual journey,” Norman said. “For all of us, keeping momentum in the D groups has not been easy always, but from obedience we’ve gotten to see God do some amazing things.”