A committed, long-term rhythm of following Jesus in community.

BEFORE YOU READ ON… and discover this journey we’re on together, we want to remind you of the starting point. Don’t begin trying to figure out what you’re going to do – Start with WHO. Who has God brought into your life as a gift for this season, that you can grow with in His ways and His Word? Everything about Follow Together is meant to be relational, whether this is your first time on the foundational path, or you’re deeply involved in formational-level discipleship. When you Start with WHO, all the questions of what and how will fall into place.

Follow Together is not another “program”, but a Multi-level Vision of Life in the Body of Christ, where every person who calls Word of Grace Home is engaged in meaningful relational discipleship. “Discipleship programs” and classes and conferences are everywhere, but we’re not interested in something to do occasionally or for a short burst. While there have been plenty of programs and short-term courses available, there has been a crisis of genuine, long-term discipleship in our land. We believe transformation begins with a change in our rhythms.

So, we resolve to answer the call of scripture, the Great Commission, and make disciples of all nations together. We have a dream to see our church truly engaged in meaningful relationships centered on God, and we’re inviting everyone who calls Word of Grace home to come on a journey with us. You can get signed up for the Foundational Path, which we encourage for anyone who has not participated in it before. If you’ve been on this journey, you can commit to the Formational Path as we move deeper into life together in Jesus.

“There is no problem in human life that apprenticeship to Jesus cannot solve.” – Dallas Willard

What does it look like for us?

Follow Together may look different for different people, but there are essentially two paths:

  • Foundational: Using a tool called A Discipleship Journey, we commit to learning from the Word every week and discussing what we’re learning in intimate groups of three. (U+2 Groups) You can see more about this Rhythm and A Discipleship Journey below. You can also see the monthly focus timeline for the Foundational Path, for all of us visual learners!
  • Formational: Whether you have done the Foundational Path or not, or are currently in a U+2 Group, we invite you to continue the rhythm of relational discipleship in one or more of the following ways:
    • Embrace the call to make disciples by leading a new U+2 Group through the Foundational Path
    • Growing your previous U+2 Group (Call it a U++ Group!), or…
    • Starting/joining a LifeGroup.
  • LifeGroups: In addition to growing in intimate smaller groups, it’s so healthy for us to have larger groups that we can engage with our whole families. LifeGroups vary in size and location, and even in what their focus is, but each of our LifeGroup leaders is dedicated to growing with you! During our LifeGroups, we continue to make space for those using A Discipleship Journey on the Foundational Path. So, if you’re in a U+2 Group, bring those questions and discoveries to LifeGroup as well. You can find out more about LifeGroups at our Connect Center on Sundays, or at wordofgracechurch.com.

(For those joining a LifeGroup, or continuing with their U+2 Group, you can dive back into the materials from A Discipleship Journey, or if you’re looking for other suggestions, we’ve got you covered! Pastor Ryan would love to chat with you and your group specifically and hear what God has been doing and then help you understand what’s available.)

Our Big “Why”

First, this was Jesus final instruction for us (Matthew 28:18-20): to Make Disciples and teach them what He taught us. We intend to make it our priority.

Second, we live in a world that is desperate for something true, but often settles for whatever sounds good or easy. In our age of private faith, we must be people who live out our faith publicly. The World needs to see the church living as dynamic disciples of Jesus. We want to raise up generation after generation that knows God’s Truth and is passionate for Jesus. As Leaders, we agree with what Neil Cole says: “Ultimately each church will be evaluated by only one thing, it’s disciples.”
More than anything, we believe what Jesus promises will happen, and that He wants to use us as agents of transformation in each other’s lives through prayer, presence, and the practical application of His Word. This is Jesus’ plan and vision to reach the world with His Good News.

Follow Together, therefore, is not a one-year thing. Our intention is to grow as disciples, and as disciple-makers, who are ready to continue growing and pass along what the Lord has shown us, season after season. As Paul said to Timothy, “You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.” (2 Timothy 2:2 NLT)

The Rhythms

Foundational Path

  • Time in the Word around crucial topics of what it means to be a Disciple of Jesus.
  • The weekly topic involves a couple of pages in the ADJ book.
  • To really dig into the scriptures and meditate on them takes time, but it can accompany existing devotional habits you have. Trust us, it’s worth it!
  • You don’t have to engage the lessons every day, but each week you need to spend time reading through the scriptures and meditating on the concepts BEFORE you get together online or in person with your U+2 Group.
  • Meet up with your U+2 Group (This can happen online via zoom or in-person. We strongly encourage in-person meet ups if possible, or at least once each month. After church lunches are always great. Transformational relationships are life-on-life. We believe we can leverage the benefits of technology, but we’re looking for intentionality and genuine interaction, which can be inhibited using screens instead of tables.)
    • Spend as much time together as you’re able, so you can catch up as well as explore the lesson. Enjoy one another and time spent around God’s Word and His Ways!
    • Your ADJ book has two questions at the end of each section: “What is the Holy Spirit saying to you?” and “How are you going to obey God?”
    • Share about what the Lord spoke to you as you considered His Word, and as you considered those questions. What part of the study was most meaningful to you or stuck out in your mind. You can share from a vocational perspective, in your personal life, family life, etc.
    • PRAY WITH ONE ANOTHER… take time to lift each other up, and honestly inquire of the Lord for words of encouragement and direction for each other.
    • If you are unable to make weekly meet-ups happen, for a season or at all, don’t sweat it. Aim for monthly in-person time and cover a bit more ground together. And if you get behind, don’t worry, just keep in step with one another and prioritize your relationships together. Like all good things that God gave us as rhythms, this is meant to delight and enrich us, not become mere ritual.

Formational Path

  • The Rhythm for those in the Formational Path varies based on what next season you’ve chosen to pursue.
  • LifeGroups have schedules determined by the LifeGroup leaders and you can find out more on the website or at the Connect Center.
  • If you are leading or growing a new U+2 (or expanding – U++!)… the rhythms will fall in line with those above in the Foundational Path.

For Everyone

For all our church family, we suggest tuning in via the Lionshare Leadership App to daily two-minute devotionals on the character of God from Dave Buehring.

Another rhythm, on a monthly (or so) basis is what we call Tribe Talks. A Tribe Talk is a three-minute teaching or testimony from a member of our church during our Sunday morning gatherings we will also hear from our community about these same things we are learning from our Tribe Talks. We would love to hear from you!

We hope to have a Followers Conference weekend to spend extra time applying the things we’re learning, spurring one another on in our journeys as disciples, and bring in strategic guests to minister to our community like Dave Buehring who wrote the materials we’re using.

The Commitment

We’ve said that this is a fresh vision – not a program – it’s a committed, long-term rhythm. You’ve heard about the rhythm, and the tools… now here’s the commitment.

Time Commitment

  • For the Foundational Path… the journey typically takes One-Year with a few hours a week… far less time in a week than the average American spends on social media or Netflix.
    • ADJ is nicely broken up into 12 main themes, as seen on the timeline, and each theme has four weeks of content. It usually takes a year of journeying together to finish, but it’s ok if it takes longer.
    • In addition to studying in the Word, each week involves discussion with your U+2 Group. This is the hardest thing to be consistent with, but it is also the most transformational part of the Foundational Path.
  • For the Formational Path… the time commitment depends on what you’re getting up to this season as you grow with others. If there is one way we can encourage you: Don’t aim at nothing. If you’ve been through the foundational Path, which is a big commitment, don’t slip back into half-effort at staying in relationship. Be proactive and passionate, and make a plan with those God has given you to journey with.

Heart Commitment

  • Putting in the time is important but bringing your heart and intention to growing as a disciple of Jesus is everything. Follow Together is for people who are hungry for more of Jesus.
  • We’re calling you to something that’s challenging, but is the key to transformation: don’t hold back. Give your all to each other, as scripture calls us to: “Therefore, if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:1-4 NIV

Getting Practical

  • The Tools: All you need to get involved
    1. A Discipleship Journey Book: You will receive this book for the Foundational Path when you’ve completed the Follow Together Commitment and have a U+2 Group.
      • Some of these truths from scripture and concepts that ADJ covers may not be new to you, but they will become new in your heart as you meditate on them and read them in community. (See The Timeline Below)
      • They are not simple facts, that you master, get the certificate, and move on. They are timeless truths that take on new meaning in new seasons of life, and especially as we grow together in relationship.
    2. A home, the church, a local cafe or the Internet… a place to meet up.
  • U+2 Groups: Finding Your Group (for those starting off in our Foundational Path)
    1. We want to put Men with Men, Women with Women… because our intention is to make space for God to move deeply in our lives and there are things that we will touch on where crossing gender lines may limit comfort levels of sharing.
    2. When you complete your Follow Together Commitment, you can write in two other people that you want to journey with. It’s best if you speak with them ahead of time and all three of you write each other in.
    3. If you’re flexible on who you will journey with in this season, we are going to put groups of three together prayerfully and strategically, but if you have two people you want to go on this journey with, please write them in.
    4. ***One Important Note: as you find your group, we anticipate you will enjoy your time together very much. It’s easy to get distracted from what we’ve been studying together and talk about a million other things, but we want to stress the importance of getting to the week’s big questions and our responses. That is where positive accountability can form. If we get together and talk for four hours, but never circle back to what we’re learning together, the danger is that we have social hour without inviting transformation. That’s one reason we ask for a commitment; commitment to each other, but also to journey in the content that we’re all moving through.
    5. LifeGroups or U+2 Groups that are expanding are welcome to add spouses, friends or family members of either sex, but please make sure that what is shared is done so appropriately.
  • Some Basic Vocabulary: Because language is important! While observing the rebellion at Babel, God Himself looked down and said, “If as one people speaking the same language, they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” (Genesis 11:6-7 NIV) What’s crazy about this is that God was observing their unity in rebellion! Imagine what happens when God’s people are united around His desires and speaking the same language!  So here are some important terms you’ll hear often:
    • Discipleship: “to replicate the character, ways, and mission of Jesus in another.” (Buehring)
    • A Disciple: “One who is With Him, learning to be Like Him, and who intends to say and do what Jesus would say and do, in the manner in which He would say and do it.” (Willard)
    • A Discipleship Journey (or ADJ): A workbook that we use to discover, together, what being and making disciples looks like in our lives.
    • U+2 Groups: Groups of three people, of the same sex, that meet each week, whether in-person (preferred) or digitally, to share what the Holy Spirit is revealing to them as they study God’s Word and the weekly content from ADJ.
    • Accountability: the relational invitation given to another follower of Jesus that helps me be a person of my Word and fulfill my call.
    • Meet-ups: Time with your U+2 group.
    • Tribe Talk: We’re bringing it back… a Three-Minute (timed) window on Sunday mornings for a member of our church family to share what impacted them from the weekly ADJ study.