Rom 1:11-12 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you– that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.
1. The purpose of the coming together of believers is spiritual impartation and mutual encouragement, not just to entertain one another with funny stories and anecdotes. Amusing your discipleship groupmates has its place in the life of the church but there is a serious business that needs to be done in every meeting- the feeding of the word of God.
2. Paul longed to see them for the impartation of spiritual gifts. There is power in seeing people face to face. While electronic communication has a role in keeping in touch with one another, don’t forget that there is a warmth that could never be translated into a million pixels.
3. When you meet, be sure to impart something that could strengthen each other’s spiritual lives. People need encouragement. They need to experience the transforming power of Jesus everyday. Anything less than that drains the life out of them.
4. It is the job of the leader to bring the presence of Christ into the midst of any discipleship meeting, or to be theologically correct, it is the job of the leader to make the atmosphere of the meeting conducive to the presence of God. That is the only thing that would fuel them to come back next time. Make them experience something they can’t get anywhere else- the presence of God.
5. Move in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Pentecost happened not to dazzle the world with a display of an amazing manifestation of power. God can do that using other means. The Pentecost happened to fire up believers to move under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, to teach us that there is a way to minister using a power that doesn’t come from our own.
6. Impart spiritual gifts. Don’t give empty words. I repeat, don’t feed them with empty words. Smart quotes may amuse them. Solid arguments may impress them. But only the word of God can give them life. Only the word of God can show them the way to freedom from the slavery of sin. Only the word of God can make them strong believers of Christ.
7. Strengthen them. Don’t beat them to death with condemnation and accusing words. Remind yourself that discipleship meetings are supposed to give life, not inflict death. Communicate love and grace and life and freedom and faith and kindness and mercy. Tell them of Christ’s love, not the raging fires of burning sulfur in hell. When the good Samaritan found the traveler that was beaten to death on the side of the road (Luke 10), he didn’t tell him how stupid he was for going that way and for traveling alone. He bandaged his wound and poured oil and wine on it. That is a picture of tenderness and Christ-like love. The good Samaritan didn’t accuse. He treated the victim tenderly. Let’s do that to our victory group buddies.
8. If you notice the verse I quoted above, it ends with mutual encouragement. When you come together, keep your eyes and ears open. You may be the leader of the group but that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from them. The more you pour yourself out to encourage others, there’s a freshness that comes to you from heaven. This is the power of the Holy Spirit that works constantly in us. Look at this verse:
Pro 11:25 Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. (ESV)
Pro 11:25 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. (NIV84)