Transformational discipleship involves moving people from sitting in rows, where they are simply in proximity to one another, to sitting in circles. From there, they move into community with one another.
When Eric Geiger and I were writing Transformational Groups, we studied 2,300 churches sponsored by 15 denominations. Fewer than half of those churches said they had a plan for discipling people. Only 63 percent had someone responsible for the spiritual formation of children, students, and adults.
The majority of these churches weren’t satisfied with the state of discipleship or spiritual formation. We know there is a great level of dissatisfaction in many churches about where they are on the issue of discipleship, but what is the solution?
We also conducted a Transformational Discipleship study of more than 4,000 Protestant churchgoers in North America and asked them about spiritual formation. One of the five items most predictive for spiritual maturity was participation in a small class or group of adults such as a small group, Bible study, or adult Bible fellowship.
But what makes a small group thrive? Our studies discovered five elements of a transformational small-group environment: mission orientation, Word-driven mentality, multiplication mindset, stranger welcoming, and kingdom-focused.