I am a member of 2 small groups that encourage and mentor each other, but they are both outside of the church. For 26 years I have hosted a support group made up of women who have been affected by addiction of one type or another. I started it as a means to incorporate the values of Al-Anon (a support group for families of alcoholics) with the power of the Bible and our faith in Jesus. My other group is made up of women who have each lost a child.  It was started 24 years ago when our son Blake was killed in a car accident.  After reading Chapter 10 of this book, I feel inspired to make improvements within both groups.

1. To use the Bible more exclusively, instead of relying so much on Christian books.

2. To be more of a shepherd and to create an environment where women shepherd one another. To make calls during the week to those who are overwhelmed with life and especially call on those who have fallen away.

3. To use more of a Q & A model to promote discussion that is honest and  authentic.

4. To promote holding each other accountable to grow as disciples of Christ. To not step back from confrontation in the face of sin, but to do it in love.

I am also a member of a new ministry, “Missing Peace”. We formed this group to be a source of care for church members and those outside the church who are touched by addiction. Our hope is to educate the church about preventive measures, to break down the stigma that addiction creates, and to hopefully become a church known for its acceptance and celebration for members who are in recovery. What a wonderful place to adopt these methods of making disciples who make disciples.
AA and Al-Anon have been successful at this for many years. Their meetings are their small group. Part of their program is to choose a sponsor who can guide them through the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.  These steps were taken from the Bible.  If sponsoring is done correctly, this one-on-one relationship guides them to:

Steps 1-3  Admit their powerlessness and need for God, and to turn their will and their lives over to Him.

Steps 4-7   Make a written inventory of their shortcomings and good qualities and speak them to another, asking God to remove their sins.

Steps 8-9  Make amends to others.

Step 10  Continue to take their own inventory and when they  are wrong promptly admit it.

Step 11   Pray daily and at all times, turning everything over to God.

Step 12   Carry the message to others.

A good sponsor is to model how to get along in their families, the workplace and with God.  This method is successful enough to free millions of men and women from the devastation  and power of addiction, but their program does not lead to salvation. How much more powerful could the method work within the church using the power of God’s Word and offering the hope of the abundant eternal life which starts on this side of heaven!