Tips on Leading a Discipleship Course

These notes are tips from the Q&A portion of the most recent live stream by Pete Scazzero entitled How to Lead the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Course.

  • You, as a leader, must make your relationship with Jesus your first priority. Pause, go deep with Jesus – we cannot give what we do not possess.
  • In a live session you’ll sense the room, whether it’s better to read from the sheet or summarize off the cuff
  • Establish expectations & boundaries first: We are equipping people but not therapists, not counsellors.
  • Be sensitive to what triggers different groups, notions of God, etc. Consider using things that stir up a lot of emotion as teaching opportunities you can discuss with members after the class.
  • Be strategic by assigning people to tables, & keep your tables consistent after the second week to build up trust.
  • Be aware that people aren’t used to being reflective, keep expectation low, this is getting them started
  • We are stopping to be with Jesus, to be open to what Jesus has to say. The Pharisees read their Bible and prayed but didn’t let Jesus in.
  • Christianity/the EHS course not about accumulating knowledge, it’s about a relationship with Jesus, about learning to be still, silent before God, not just praying to Jesus but listening.
  • We are moving people from consumerism to following Jesus, discipleship takes time
  • You’re creating an environment for the Holy Spirit to meet people
  • The daily office is hard & unpleasant at first
  • Accountability is always an invitation. Meeting with God five days/week is a shock but the core of the course. The goal is to be with Jesus, not to check a box.
  • Guilt and shame about not doing the offices enough is from the devil. The goal is to try, do what you can.
  • Recommended book: Kingdom Gospel: Discipleship is about what it means t be a Christian. This (disciplines, daily office) is a normal mode for Christians
  • What do you say to people who say they’re too busy or don’t see the value? “You spend 10k for your education, and 1000s of hrs getting your degree. So we’re asking you to do the most important thing, your relationship with Jesus, for 2 hours, for 8 weeks, and something that’ll help you discover who you are and discover Jesus.”
  • There are three times of the year that are great to do this (taking into consideration the liturgical church year & holidays):
    • Sept/Oct before Thanksgiving,
    • Jan/Feb before Easter,
    • or After Easter before Summer
  • This course is not recommended for non-believers.
  • If people want to do this as small groups, do it as a centralized course first, then if they want to do it again they can do it as a small group (small groups typically drop the daily office and treat this as just another Bible study, so it’s best to get the momentum and quality of teaching and energy of a church-wide initiative).
  • Get your leaders to do the EHLeader book first, spend 45 min/chapter, and simultaneously (or right after) do a pilot project with the whole church
  • This course is an introduction, not the be-all and end-all. The question after will be where do we go from here?
  • Call your first iteration a pilot project and then use the fruit of the course to inspire people to continue doing it and making it the main pathway of discipleship, a yearly thing for members of the church.
  • People can retake the course but encourage table leaders to identify one or more people to ask to be a table leader next time.
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