Disciple Now. If you’ve been in a Baptist church for any length of time in the past twenty years or so, you’ve almost certainly heard the name. But what exactly is Disciple Now? Why is it such a big deal? Why is that crazy youth pastor asking for your help with it or for your prayers in support of it? I wanted to take some time here and hopefully shed some light on the subject.
Disciple Now, or just DNow for short, is simply a good old fashioned retreat weekend for students. It has 4 main components that all come together to make for a great time: small group Bible studies, large group worship times, some type of service activity, and a whole bunch of just hanging out and having fun. Below we’ll look at how each of these four things is so important.
Small group Bible study is great for a number of reasons. First, what is more edifying than diving headfirst into God’s word and seeing how exactly it can and should impact our lives? DNow Bible studies and free times are broken up into groups based on age and gender, with each group spending the weekend nights at a separate host home. Each group is led by two college students from our ministry, who both teach the Bible studies and corral students around for the weekend. By providing strong spiritual role modeling, these group leaders help our students see what exactly it means to be a Christian in today’s world.
Worshipping together as the Body of Christ is central to all that the Church is. Our times in worship together provide the opportunity to reflect back what we have learned about God in praise to Him. Additionally, worship times provide a chance for our speaker to share some messages from God’s word and help synthesize all the lessons from the weekend.
Doing acts of service provides the avenue to put our faith into practice. These have been all over the place from year to year, but the important thing is to remind students that while it’s great to have fun, their spiritual life is not just about themselves. We as the Body of Christ are called to be lights shining like stars in the world as we reflect the love of Christ.
Finally, what good DNow weekend would be called good without a ton of fun activities. We usually try to do something special as a fun activity, whether that be going on a scavenger hunt around town, going ice skating, or something as simple as a game of capture the flag. Between all the officially scheduled events are plenty of times where fellowship happens naturally—there’s no better way to become good friends with someone than by spending a few nights together in someone’s house. By having that “sleepover” feel of fun, we help build camaraderie and grow as a group.
Disciple Now is meant to be a fun weekend that conveys to students the simple truths of God’s love for us in Christ. It’s all packaged up with a number of fun activities, but ultimately it serves a greater purpose: DNow weekends (for me personally, and for others I’m sure) stand as monuments along the paths of our personal faith journeys. As an annual event, each year’s DNow provides another chance to briefly pause the craziness of life and stop to look at what’s truly important—our relationship with God. It can easily be a defining moment. And that’s why it’s such a big deal.