Expectations for being in a DNA Group

Deep discipleship and transformation doesn’t happen in isolation. Rather, deep growth occurs in the soil of trusting relationships, where we can be known and loved, challenged and encouraged. This is the purpose of a DNA Group. A DNA Group is 3-4 people—men with men, women with women—who are committed to helping one another live out their discipleship to Jesus and be intentional about their spiritual formation.

Scripture teaches that we need trusted confidants—like a DNA Group—who will exhort us to practice the way of Jesus, spurring us on, and pushing us to daily pursue holiness (1 Tim. 4:8; Heb. 3:12-14; 10:24; James 1:22; Prov. 27:17). We need people in our lives who will help us own our need for growth, hold us accountable, and help us take responsibility for ourselves. This brings us to the expectations for DNA members.

DNA Member Expectations 

Being a DNA Member comes with certain expectations. At Fellowship Paragould, we sum up what is expected of each DNA member using the acronym OARBED.

DNA Group members are to graciously encourage one another to live “above the line.” When DNA members assume ownership, accountability, and responsibility for themselves, it brings life to the person and to the group. It is the way of growth and living into the victory and new identity that Jesus has accomplished for us. But when we live “below the line,” we are following the way of death and playing the victim. Passivity in the form of blaming, excusing and denying brings death to the group and to our souls. Therefore, the most loving thing we can do for one another is gently and persistently encourage one another to live above the line.

If a DNA member is drifting into apathy and there seems to be a lack of pursuit of Jesus, then the others in the group are to point back to the expectation of ownership, pressing into his heart and encouraging him to be intentional about his spiritual formation and relationship with Jesus.

If a DNA member is becoming defensive and reactionary, unwilling to receive feedback from the group, then the other group members are to point back to the expectation of accountability, pressing into her heart and reminding her of the need for help and humility.

If a DNA member is not being responsible and taking care of themselves spiritually—not showing up faithfully in community, not participating and fully present, not spending time with Jesus in the Word and prayer, not dealing with their emotions and struggles, then the others in the group are to point back to the expectation of responsibility, once again pressing into the heart and reminding one another of the need to grow up and be responsible.

The same applies below the line. When we hear blame-shifting, excuse-making, and denial, we quickly and graciously point back to the expectations and remind one another that abiding in the Vine is not passive (John 15) and that “grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning” (Dallas Willard).

Ultimately, these DNA member expectations help point us to the gospel and our need for Jesus. At many points, every DNA member will fail and fall short of these expectations. The goal is not to master them and use them to prove ourselves or to be mastered by them and punish ourselves when we fail. Rather, the goal is a life of deepening repentance and trust in Jesus and deep obedience motivated by his grace and love. This kind of deep discipleship only happens when we live in community with other disciples who call us to believe the gospel and live above the line.


How do you cultivate environments for accountablity and spiritual foramtion in your DNA groups?

–> Join the online community, ask questions, and get answers from seasoned practitioners.

–> Check out some helpful resources:

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Adam Breckenridge

Author Adam Breckenridge

Adam Breckenridge is a teacher and gospel shepherd at Fellowship Paragould in Paragould, Arkansas. He is married to his best friend in the world, the lovely Kari Sue. They have three beautiful, fierce little girls that they're crazy about: Lucy Blue, Susanna Jane, and Georgie Love. He enjoys dating his wife and daughters, reading, smoking meat, eating smoked meat with friends, watching college football, listening to and making music, and squeezing in some solitude and silence. Kari and Adam love the city of Paragould and long to see this people and place know the love of God fleshed out in Jesus (Rom. 5:8) and poured out in his Spirit (Rom. 5:5).

More posts by Adam Breckenridge

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