Rebooting Your Discipling Environments


Recently, our church started to rethink how we are forming people in Christ, i.e. discipleship. As a part of that process I ran across one church’s description of 

  • The Chair    
  • The Row and the
  • The Circle

I thought it was very helpful but have expanded it for our purposes to

  • The Chair
  • The Row
  • The Circle
  • The Table and the 
  • The Hood

We call it our “discipling environments” and encourage everyone to be involved in all of them in 12 month cycles. Here’s how we describe them and remind our people of what they are and why they are important.

Environments for Discipleship

At Manchester Creek we are serious about following Jesus. That doesn’t mean we are perfect, not even close, but it does mean that we are making progress in learning to live passionately for and like Christ.

One of the discoveries that we have made over the years is that becoming a disciple, a true follower of Christ, happens best when we embrace in a purposeful way five different environments for discipleship. Those five environments are:

  • The Row        —     Sunday Worship

  • The Circle      —     Home-Groups

  • The Table      —     One-to-One

  • The Chair      —     Personal Devotions

  • The Hood       —     Where You Live and Work

Gathering together in Sunday worship in The Row is an important discipling environment. In it we learn about the risen Christ; worship our coming Lord, and celebrate the joy of being the family of God. Hebrews 10:25 reminds us that “we should not neglect meeting together” and we have learned that when it is neglected the fire of our passion for God grows dim.

The Circle environment is our Home-Groups. Meeting together on a weekly basis in smaller fellowship groups around food and Bibles is an important aspect of our life together. In the circle of our homes, we learn to love one-another, and care for one-another as we laugh and cry and pray for one another. For two and a half centuries, the circle and the row happened mostly in the same place—someone’s home.

A third environment is The Table. The table is our way of expressing the environment of One-to-One discipleship. These often coffee-saturated-times are when two men or two women meet across a table to study the basics of how the Christian life works so that we can learn how to multiply our lives into others. It is an accountability environment where two brother or two sisters help one another to truly live like Christ.

The fourth aspect is The Chair. The Chair represents our personal devotional life. Each of us alone with God studying His word and receiving His counsel. And finally, The Hood. The shop stands for where we live and work and for the opportunity we have to serve others. Serving people is the “shop” of our lives in our homes, our jobs, and our church family and is critical to becoming who God wants us to be. 

What are your discipling environments?
How are you encouraging and helping your people to understand the claim that Christ has on the whole of life?


2 thoughts on “Rebooting Your Discipling Environments

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