Multiplying Disciples –Provide calculators for the group, or group members may use the calculator feature on their cell phones. Tell each group member to imagine that in one year, they made 5 disciples. The next year, those 5 made 5 disciples each. Have group members calculate how many disciples could be made in 10 years, if each disciple made 5 more disciples. Then have someone Google the current population of the United States for comparison. Marvel at how quickly the gospel can spread if we take the time to invest in a few people around us.
Replicant – Provide group members with paper, a writing utensil, and a mirror (or people can use the selfie feature on their phone cameras). Give group members 5 minutes on their own to do the following: Have them start by staring into the mirror and taking a good look at themselves, reflecting on their personal spiritual life. Would they feel comfortable if their current spiritual life was to be replicated in other people? If not, what changes would they want to make first, and how would they go about doing that? If they do feel comfortable, is anything stopping them from replicating themselves in others? Then, they can write an honest reflection and their answers to these questions. After the reflection time, have group members share something that was revealed to them during this reflection time.
1. Read 2 Timothy 2:2a. Paul refers to the message he has preached publicly. (A) How would you summarize what Timothy heard from Paul? (B) What is your message to others?
• Intent: Consider these passages to understand Paul’s public message: 1 Cor. 15:1-8, Acts 16:30-31, Acts 17:30-31, Acts 20:27-32, and Acts 26:19-23. We cannot pass on the truth that we don't clearly know. To multiply, we must first know sound doctrine and be walking out our faith. We are both to guard sound doctrine (Titus 1:9) and entrust it to others (2 Tim.2:2).
2. Read 2 Timothy 2:2b. What are some characteristics of a "faithful man" (NAS) or "reliable person" (NIV)?
• Intent: The Greek for faithful is πιστός (Pistos), meaning responsible, worthy of or requiring responsibility or trust; or held accountable. Consider these passages: Matt. 25:14-30, Lk. 16:10-12, and 1 Tim. 1:12-14.
3. (A) How do you go about entrusting something to another? (B) Who has entrusted truth to you?
• Intent: (A) Paratithēmi (entrust) means depositing something valuable for safekeeping. Consider a trust fund. It is held “in trust” until certain requirements are met. In the case of 2 Tim. 2:2, the requirement is that the item held “in trust” (Paul’s teaching) be entrusted (or committed - NKJV) to men who have been found to be faithful. In 2 Tim. 1:14, Paul alludes to the “treasure” that had been entrusted to Timothy. Likewise, we should consider the Biblical teachings we received and invest in those who have a proven interest in becoming a more mature Christian. This typically involves spending time with someone to teach them and model Christlikeness. It involves walking with them, advising and encouraging them to love the Lord, trust Christ, and disciple others.
4. Second Timothy 2:1-7 gives us some context for what might be involved in entrusting truth to the faithful. What aspects of this task do you see from these verses?
• Intent: Verse 1, our strength comes from the Lord; vv. 3-4, suffering, hardship, and steadfastness as one who is under authority; v. 5, sticking to a Scripturally-based plan; v. 7, prayerfully meditating on God’s word [“reflect” NAS or “consider” NIV] will give us the insight on how to faithfully carry out our task.
5. What is the difference between evangelizing and discipling someone?
• Intent: Evangelizing is informing; to proclaim the gospel. Its intended result is a work of God in revelation and an awakening to God’s Spirit. Discipling is the act of making a person into a disciple by teaching and mentoring them. This requires a deliberate time investment and work by the disciple and discipler to be transformed increasingly into Christlikeness over time.
6. What are some reasons we may not invest in discipling others? What hindrances do we face?
• Intent: Look practically at potential roadblocks to discipleship (e.g., too busy, not truly believing in the importance of our mission and entrusting the truth, lack of faithful and reliable people, hardships, focused on worldly priorities, etc.)
Split into pairs or trios and pray that each person would be effective in ministering and multiplying disciples in their spheres of influence.
Do you think you are qualified to teach others? Ask the Lord to show you a reliable person in whom you can invest.
• Intent: Encourage the group to recognize they do not have to be seminary graduates to disciple someone. Each Christian has knowledge, gifting, experience, and a mission that enables them to share with others.