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[Note: This is the fourth and final installment of a series on discipleship. Click here for part one, here for part two, and here for part three.]

Do you want to grow in Christ? Do you want to “feel the power of the resurrection” as Paul said? Do you want to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind?” Then you need to be in a LIFE Transformation Group.

What follows is a very simple Who? What? When? Where? And How? of LIFE Transformation Groups at Ocoee Oaks. The Why? Was addressed in part three of this series.

What is an LTG?

A LIFE Transformation Group (LTG) is a group that shares qualities of the historical Wesleyan band meeting and the Life Transformation Groups advocated by Neil Cole in his book Cultivating a Life for God. LTGs are the smallest and most intensive type of groups in a church. LTGs consist of two to four members all of the same sex. The “normal” size for a group is 3 people. When a group adds a fourth member it should consider itself “pregnant,” and prepare itself to give birth to two new LTGs. The explicit goal of every LTG is to multiply itself. Every dyad should being seeking to multiply itself as quickly as possible. This is how the church multiplies and grows.

Three components of an LTG

Confession of sin and giving an account for our lives in God.

I developed the following list of questions based on our mission strategy. The most critical questions are the first and last. The meeting should always start with question number one. Because sin is active in our lives, we are naturally resistant to bringing it to the light. By confessing sin at the outset, we are more likely to live out our intention to assist one another in taking off the old self and putting on the new self.

Since our last meeting…
1. What sin, if any, have you committed?
2. What have you done to develop your relationship with God?
3. How have you developed your relationships with other believers, especially your family?
4. How have you broken fellowship with other believers? (anger, gossip, etc)
5. Have you read the Scriptures faithfully?
6. What other means of grace/spiritual disciplines have you availed yourself of this week?
7. How have you served others without expectation of return?
8. With whom have you shared the gospel verbally?
9. Describe your worship experience(s) in the past week.
10. What is God teaching you? What are you going to do about it?

Reading a large amount of Scripture weekly.

Neil Cole suggests reading that same three chapters (at minimum) each day of the week between sessions. For instance, each member of the group will read Mark 1-3, each day between meetings. This multiple exposure method has the advantage of giving participants a deeper knowledge of particular passage of Scripture and how it relates to other passages around it. I am also finding some success by using the One Year Bible. The advantage of this approach is that participants get a broad swath of Scripture and the overall tenor of Scripture.

Praying strategically for people who do not yet know Christ.

[This section has been slightly modified from Neil Cole’s, Cultivating a Life for God.] Each member of the LTG is to identify the two or three people who are the highest evangelistic priorities God has laid on their hearts. They share the names of these people at a group meeting, and each member writes the names down. Each person should have listed all the names represented in the group, totaling six to nine names. Each time one of us does our Bible reading, we select one of the names and pray for that person using the suggested prayer guide. Each person listed for strategic prayer is prayed for two to three times by two or three different people every week. The prayers (listed below) offered are specific, progressive, and extensive. They are also in accordance with biblical principles of prayer and the salvation of lost souls.

1. I pray, Lord, that You draw ____ to Yourself (John 6:44).

2. I pray that ____ seeks to know You (Acts 17:27).

3. I pray that ____ hears and believes the Word of God (1 Thess. 2:13).

4. I ask You to prevent Satan from blinding ____ to the truth (2 Cor. 4:4; 2 Tim. 2:25-26).

5. Holy Spirit, I ask You to convict ____ of his/her sin and reveal his/her need for Christ’s redemption.

6. I ask You to send someone who will share the Gospel with ____ (Matt. 9:37-38).

7. I also ask that You give me (and/or my fellow disciple) the opportunity, the courage, and the right words to share the truth with ____ (Col. 4:3-6; Eph. 6:19-20).

8. Lord, I pray that ____ turns from his/her sin (Acts 17:30-31; 1 Thess. 1:9-10).

9. Lord, I pray that ____ would put all of his/her trust in Christ (John 1:12; 5:24).

10. Lord, I pray that ____ will confess Christ as Lord of his/her life, take root and grow in his/her faith, and bear much fruit for Your glory (Rom. 10:9-10; Col. 2:6-7; Luke 8:15).

Who are LIFE Transformation Groups for?

LTGs may not be for everyone. While they are arguably the most powerful method of discipleship, some people are just not ready. For instance, a person who refuses to be vulnerable in an LTG, who refuses to confess his or her sin, is not ready. Fear is not a disqualifier; fear is likely a sign that an LTG is precisely what is needed. If a person has been subjected to emotional abuse in the past, an LTG may not be the appropriate discipleship format at the outset of a person’s spiritual journey; however, there is also the possibility that great healing could take place as a result of participation by abused individuals.

So, who should participate? LTGs are for everyone who desperately desires to have sin eradicated in his or her life, to live a sanctified life like, and to bring others to salvation in Jesus Christ. If you want to use the single most powerful method of growing in Christ, this is it.

When should an LTG meet?

An LTG should meet at least weekly for no less than one hour. Less frequent meeting or meeting for less time can greatly hinder spiritual growth of participants.

Where should and LTG meet?

An LTG should be in a private setting. Because of the confessional nature of the meeting, participants likely will not want to be heard by others. Praying for each other in the LTG while meeting together is also a key component and, therefore, privacy is essential. While is may be possible to have an LTG at a coffee shop, it is inadvisable.

How do I get involved in an LTG?

For those who are so inclined, just start a group. Read Neil Cole’s Book Cultivating a Life For God. I have the questions and prayers we use at Ocoee Oaks here. Pray about who you should start a group with, then get started. Really. That’s it. Go ahead. Do it. Now. Really.

If you do start a group, please let me know. I want to pray for you. I also want to refer people to your group, so that your LTG can grow and fulfill its Kingdom multiplying mission.

If you cannot find a partner and you want to be a part of an LTG, let me know and I’ll see if we can’t figure out a way to plug you into an already existing group.

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to let me know. God bless you on your journey to Christ-likeness.

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Husband. Father. Pastor. Psychologist. I am passionate about leadership and discipleship.

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