Have you heard “Who’s your one?” This popular phrase is being used quite a bit these days in churches, mostly by pastors to help motivate their church members to reach people for Christ. “Who’s your one?” is an effective way to emphasize the importance of personal evangelism and connecting with people who are still far from God. I like the “Who’s your one?” focus.
I also like another not-so-popular phrase, “Who are your three?” What if it could become popular? What if every believer were looking for three other people who he or she could disciple and help become fully trained disciples? What if we could motivate and mobilize men and women to find three other people to meet in weekly discipleship groups to learn the character and conduct of Christ?
This idea is not new. It is actually the very same thing Jesus did two thousand years ago. Jesus had twelve disciples, but Peter, James, and John were His inner circle. He did things with them and took them places He did not take the other nine. Peter, James, and John were Jesus’ three.
When you finish reading the gospels and move on to Acts, you only hear about three apostles until Paul is added. The three apostles who give leadership to the Church in Jerusalem were… guess who? That’s right, Peter, James, and John. Jesus’ inner circle of three become the main leaders in the Jerusalem Church.
This whole idea of Jesus having a group of twelve and a closer group of three makes me to think that discipleship happens at different levels in different types of groups. Clearly, Jesus was associating with Peter, James, and John at a different level and maybe even a deeper level than He did with the other nine.
In a contemporary context, this same concept can be carried out. For an example, at Crossroads Church where I pastor, we encourage people to join what we call a “Community Group” and then later join what we call an “Impact Group.” Both of these groups meet on a weekly basis and both of them study God’s Word, pray, and encourage each other. Discipleship is taking place in both groups. In an Impact Group, however, the commitment and accountability is greater. The study is more intentional and strategic. The goal of Impact Groups is specifically targeted to help people become “fully trained” disciples of Jesus. Most Impact Groups are made up of men only or women only, and they all focus on helping members develop the character and conduct of Christ.
When a person completes the disciple making process used in an Impact Group, we hope two things will happen. First, we hope they have the “DNA” of a disciple. Even if those members never lead other groups, we hope that they at least understand what it means to be and build disciples of Christ.
Our second objective for those Impact Groups is that people who complete the group will become leaders of other groups and teams within our church. The Impact Groups actually become the leadership pipeline for our church.
Our Community Groups are usually larger than Impact Groups. A Community Group may have as many as ten to twelve members. An Impact Group will only have three to four. The smaller size group allows for a deeper investment and intimacy.
This brings us back to the original question. Who are your three? Who are the three people in your life you are investing in intentionally and strategically? Who are the people you are helping to develop the character and conduct of Christ? At Impact Discipleship Ministries, we exist to inspire people and churches to be and build disciples of Jesus. If we can help you develop your three, let us know. We would love to hear from and support your journey.