April 23, 2024 by

If you’re a freshman at Cedarville, everyone will probably tell you to join a Discipleship Group — that is, a weekly Bible study group organized by Cedarville’s Discipleship Ministries. D-groups are led by other students who have been trained as Discipleship Leaders, or DLs; DLs are led by student members of the Discipleship Council, a group of upperclassmen who are in turn led by the Discipleship Director at Cedarville, Aaron Cook. Freshmen are particularly encouraged to sign up for D-groups in the third week of the fall semester. D-groups are a great place to meet new people and set yourself up for spiritual growth. 

God has used Cedarville’s carefully crafted Discipleship hierarchy to bless me and many other students who pass through Cedarville. I’ve formed strong relationships with people who encourage me to grow closer to God. D-groups have given me an anchor of accountability during hard seasons and truly shaped the rhythm of my life here at Cedarville. I’d definitely recommend joining a D-group.  

But it can be easy to become disenchanted with D-group after the thrill of Getting Started Weekend wears off and the busyness of the school year begins. There are a few principles I’ve learned that have helped me make the most of Discipleship Groups at Cedarville.  

Understand the Purpose 

Cedarville Discipleship Ministries’ mission is “to cultivate joy-filled, resilient, fruitful individuals for the good of others and the glory of God.” That’s exactly what D-groups are for! “Cultivate” is a key word. Cultivation implies careful preparation and attention to detail, like a gardener pruning a plant. If Christians are to be “rooted and built up in Christ and established in the faith,” (Col. 2:7) we must also carefully cultivate our walk with the Lord. Meeting consistently to study God’s Word and Christian living is a great way to build up the rhythms of a solid walk with God. Through a D-group, you can joyfully grow in holiness as you walk alongside fellow believers. Eventually, you’ll find yourself rooted more firmly in Christ.  

Another key phrase is “for the good of others.” Joining a D-group is an opportunity to meet and become friends with people you might never have met otherwise. You can actually serve others by being a part of a D-group! Christians are called to gather together and encourage one another, and D-groups are designed to facilitate this calling.  

Additionally, Christians are to live “for the glory of God.” That means doing what God has commanded us to do. In the case of discipleship, Jesus has invited us to sit at His feet and learn from Him. He commends Mary for choosing to listen to Him in Luke 10. Another purpose of D-group is to participate in the practice of sitting at Jesus’ feet as we gather in His name with fellow believers.  

Knowing the purposes of D-group is the first step to making the most of it.  

Prioritize Connection 

So, you’re in D-group, and you meet a bunch of people you never would have met otherwise. Now is not the time to be scared of making friends. To make the most of your D-group, prioritize connecting with your leader and your fellow members! 

First of all, know that your Discipleship Leader (DL) is so excited to know and love you. DLs are in their position because they believe that the Lord will work mightily through D-groups. They’ve been praying for you, and they want to offer you friendship and a safe space to get to know the Lord better. A great first step when you join a D-group is to grab Rinnova or Chick-fil-A with your DL. Ask about their story. Make a connection — and don’t worry, they’re committed to serving you well.  

Once you’ve established a connection with your DL, look around at other members of your D-group. Make sure to reach out to your prayer partner if your DL assigns you one. Or choose one or two people you’d like to get to know better outside of D-group. Coffee or a meal is a great option here too!  

Also, keep an eye out for the wallflowers. Is there anyone in your D-group who doesn’t seem to have made any strong connections? Reach out! This is an opportunity to fulfill one of the purposes of D-group: serving your fellow believers for their good.  

Ask the Lord to help you love and encourage others in D-group! 

Be Faithful 

The most important factor in making the most of D-group is faithfulness.  

Sometimes, you might not feel like showing up. It’s a busy week. You have a lot of homework or too many social events. Maybe you didn’t catch up on your reading for book study night. Maybe it’s community game night, and you despise Monopoly.  

But just like church, sometimes the days you don’t feel like going are the days you need to the most.  

You won’t have perfect attendance to D-group, but if you’re available, make your best effort to be there. The Lord might remind you of a truth that deeply encourages your heart. Someone might share their testimony and you find that it’s very similar to yours, so you begin a lasting friendship with them. You might just feel refreshed enough after a study break to get your homework done.  

My favorite rule for making the most of D-group is, “Go make it good for someone else.” In His sovereignty, God has placed you at Cedarville University at a specific time so that you can be in D-group under a specific DL reading a specific book alongside specific brothers or sisters in Christ. By being faithful and showing up with a heart for the others in your D-group, even if you don’t feel like it, you take full advantage of the opportunity God has given you to love others well.  

D-group is a unique way to pursue holiness and become spiritually resilient during your 1,000 Days at Cedarville. So, make the most of it by understanding the purpose, prioritizing connection, and being faithful. 

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