Making Space to Do What We are Called to Do–Make Disciples

Two years ago while I was the pastor of another church, 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 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 The Sanctuary 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 Chair      —     Personal Devotions 
  • The Table      —     One–on–One
  • The Hood      —     Where You Live and Work

The Row

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. It is the single greatest reason why many pastors around the country are experiencing real misgivings about bans on public worship.

The Circle 

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, and the ‘hood (see below)  happened mostly in the same place—someone’s home.

The Chair

The third aspect is The Chair. The Chair represents our personal devotional life. Each of us alone with God studying His word and receiving His counsel. Developing the discipline of Bible reading, prayer, meditation, journaling, and worship is a key ingredient to hearing the voice of God and the direction we need for daily living.

The Table

A fourth 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 brothers or two sisters help one another to truly live like Christ.

The ‘Hood

And finally, The ‘Hood. The ‘hood stands for where we live and work and for the opportunity we have to serve others. Serving people is the “hood” of our lives in our homes, our jobs, and our church family is critical to becoming who God wants us to be.

We encourage all of our people to be conciously engaged in all of these environments in every 12 month cycle of the year. The Chair is an every day environment; The Row, is an every week environment; The Circle is a generally weekly or bi-weekly depending on particular Home-Group. The Table is a yearly environment. We hope that everyone who participates in One-to-One discipleship will train one other person a year in what they have been taught in their one-to-one training. That might take 13-20 weeks. And finally, The ‘Hood is the 24-7-52-365 environment of our lives where we live under the microscope of the world and seek to make a difference for Christ.

  • 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?

If you would like to join us in our new church plant in Rock Hill, SC where ministry revolves around making disciples, email me at . . .

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