Where should we meet to disciple a person or a group?

A classroom at a church, a living room, or anywhere you may have some privacy.  Meeting in a public place is not recommended for a discipleship group because of distractions. The meeting should take place around a table or tables because of the students having to write in their books.

How long does it take to teach the average discipleship lesson?

Here is a recommended class schedule:

  • Welcome/Prayer/Students write out last week’s memory verse/Turn in Accountability Log to Class Leader to review and give back – 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Teach the lesson – 30 minutes (depending upon class interaction)
  • Closing/Give next week’s assignments – 10 to 15 minutes

Is there a recommended method for memorizing scripture?

Yes, ask your students to write out the scripture memory verse assigned for the coming week. Encourage them to look at it through the week putting it to memory a sentence at a time saying it out loud without looking at the card.

What do lessons consist of?

Lessons consist of fill-in-the-blanks, discussion questions, multiple scriptural references, and solid doctrinal and relevant principles from God’s word. Lessons are on average approximately two pages in length. Most lessons open up with a lesson memory verse under the title and conclude with assignments for the next week.

Is there a recommended translation?

Most people remember things that are less familiar or different. For that reason, the Kings James or New King James version might be easier to remember.

Do you have a book for new believers?

Yes, the RDS, Knowledge-Level One, is for new believers, but not only for new believers. Season believers that are hungry for the Word of God will want to go through level one too.

Why is the RDS different than other discipleship studies or courses?

The answer is found in the accountability. The lessons are good and filled with the scripture, but the uniqueness and strength of the RDS is the student/disciple making themselves accountable to a discipler/leader. Students weekly complete daily accountability logs, memorize scriptures, attend and participate in a weekly lesson, and pray with a prayer partner. The RDS teaches the student/disciple to feed themselves daily the word of God that results in the work of Christ’s righteousness from inside out.

Is there a recommended class or small group size?

Yes, anywhere up to a maximum of 12 students for experienced small group leaders. If the leader has very little or no experience leading a small group, then they might start with two or thee students/disciples in the group.

Do you have the RDS in languages other than English?

Yes, it has been translated into Spanish (all four levels) in the first edition and all five levels in the second edition. Presently, we offer the RDS second edition, first level in Portuguese. We also offer the RDS first edition, levels 1-3 in Haitian-Creole. We hope to translate RDS into more languages as the need and opportunity presents itself.

How would you recommend that we start a relational discipleship program in our church?

Here is detailed list of steps for starting a rds program in your church:

  1. Preach or teach on discipleship and then introduce the RD series to the entire church.
  2. Pray and approach 3 to 5 people individually asking them to attend an introduction meeting. Consider inviting new believers and those individuals that are hungry for the word of God.
  3. Give opportunity for everyone to sign up for the introductory class but limit it to 10-12 attenders. If you expect more people to sign up than 10 to 12 people, consider offering two or three groups to begin at the same time.
  4. The leader/discipler should make themselves very familiar with the RDS, Level One book, previewing the contents, the certificate requirements and commitment page, the course disciplines or guidelines, the leader/discipler training lessons, and the introductory lesson (lesson one).
  5. The leader/discipler should conduct the introductory meeting previewing the level one book giving each person an opportunity to sign a commitment form. The student should sign and leave the top page in the book and then sign and detach the lower page and give to the leader/discipler.
  6. Schedule your first group meeting one week after your introductory session.

Do you recommend the RDS for one-on-one discipleship?

Absolutely. It is important however that the leader/disciple see themselves as a learner along with the student. That the leader goes through the course with the student projecting the idea of the both of them growing together.

Can I copy the lessons?

Only with permission from the author. Groups and leaders are encouraged to purchase level books for each student. We believe students will perform better if they have their own book versus copies of lessons.

My church is small and we cannot afford to purchase the books

In over thirty years of doing discipleship groups, we always ask the student/disciple to pay for their own book or books. We tell them you can put a dollar a week in the offering if you like. We don’t care how you do it or how long it takes you to do it. Just please make the effort to pay for your own book. The church picks up the tab or someone else may for the few who do not. But the student will appreciate the RDS more and perform better if they have invested in the book or books.

Do you give certificates?

Yes, at the end of each level, we have the student and their group who have met the certificate requirements come and receive their certificates before the entire church. We encourage you to give out your own certificates with your church name, mission statement, church logo, etc. Also, use the recognition time as a time of recruitment for the next RDS level you will be offering.

Can the books be downloaded electronically?

Yes, go to relationaldiscipleshipministries.com and click on the “buy now” tab. They are labeled as “ebooks.”

What age groups can go through the RDS?

Anywhere from pre-teens to seniors in their 80’s or even 90’s. As long as the student commits to participate and tries to follow through with their commitment, they should be allowed to participate.

Why are there two editions of the Relational Discipleship Series (RDS)?

There are two editions of the Relational Discipleship Series (RDS). The first edition consists of four levels centering around four themes found in the Parable of the Sower. The four levels (ten lessons per level) are Knowledge, Obedience, Separation, and Fruitfulness.

The second edition of the Relational Discipleship Series consists of five levels (seven lessons per level). The five levels are as follows: Know, Grow, Believe, Serve, and Go. Many of the lessons in the first edition are included in the second edition, however, the second edition, third level (Believe), focuses on Pentecostal doctrine. Additionally, there are lessons in level four (Serve) that define the spiritual gifts in the New Testament along with access to a spiritual gifts survey.