We need people who have access to our lives, ask us hard questions, probe our motivations, and remind us of the freedom we’ve been given in Jesus.
In a post I wrote a few years ago, I discussed how the engine of discipleship is the ongoing experience of repentance and faith in Jesus as the gospel is applied to every area of life. The only way to lead small groups (or missional communities) is to do so in confession of your own need for Jesus—over and over, drawing others into the party of grace with you. But what shape does that take in the day-to-day rhythms of life?
Practically, it will often look like layers of DNA (Discover, Nurture, Act). DNA is our (Soma) short-hand way of saying that we all need to be engaged in the work of the Great Commission: communicating gospel truth in the context of relationships. We need people who have access to our lives—people we encourage to ask us hard questions, probe our motivations, and remind us of the freedom we’ve been given in Jesus. While this happens naturally in many spheres of life, there are a few places that require a more-intentional approach.
First, practice DNA with your spouse. The whole purpose of a weekly date night (which can be as simple as a walk in the neighborhood!) is to shepherd one another to Jesus. Talk about the ways you’ve seen your need for Jesus this week and how you’ve seen grace at work in your spouse. A few simple questions to return to regularly can be a great asset for your marriage:
- Where are you experiencing Jesus’ pursuit? What is He showing you about your sin and need of Him?
- Have you experienced grace or judgement through me this week? In what ways?
- How is our communication? Our sexual intimacy? Our parenting? Our missional community?
Second, practice DNA with your kids. This can happen in a variety of ways depending on the ages of your kids. Mostly your job is to point them to Jesus who can save them, and mostly you’ll do this by confessing your need for Jesus to save you. Do it regularly and specifically, both when your sin affects them directly and when it doesn’t. Read the Bible with them, and take advantage of times to foster gospel conversation, especially the bedtime routine. When you pray for them or with them, pray the riches of the gospel into their hearts and minds. Find what works for the ages of your kids and the rhythms of your life, and live in the freedom of not having to do it the way others (in books, blogs, or elsewhere) do it.
Third, practice DNA with a few brothers or sisters. You need this more than you might think, and you should invite others to do it with you weekly because you need it, not because you think they need it! Because missional community is a way of life and not a meeting, setting aside regular time with a few others from your missional community to talk about your sin and your Savior is a must. This regular meeting will help ensure that all of your other “life together” activities have a solid foundation of gospel intentionality. A few simple practices to include when you meet together:
- Discover: Read something together, especially the Bible, and discuss what you’re seeing about Jesus.
- Nurture: Confess sin to one another, and help each other remember the truth about God and His grace.
- Act: Discuss what the Spirit is leading you to, set targets, and walk them out together in grace.