The 4 Ds of Discipleship

The 4Ds provide an intentional process to become more like Jesus by hearing and responding to God.


Posture: Supportive Cheerleader

Purpose: To follow-up with others as they responded to God.


In your very 1st meeting using the 4 Ds you will begin with Dig.  

Every meeting thereafter will start with Debrief.  


Debrief is where we check on how each person has been engaging their plans to respond to God.  Think of it as a discipleship feedback loop.  Our goal is to support, encourage, and celebrate our friends as they live into faith-filled action in response to God’s leading.  We cheer on faithfulness, and never jeer setbacks.



Posture: Expectant Learner

Purpose: To learn and listen for connections with your life.


Before you dig in, take time to pray and invite the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your group as you hear and respond to him.


Dig is where we use content to learn.  We prefer to go straight to God’s Word – the Bible.  We approach it with expectancy that God with teach us more about Jesus and that he will reveal how it connects with your life.  A word or phrase may provoke something in your heart.  Sometimes the Holy Spirit is revealing something he wants to change in us.  Other times he wants to celebrate something in us that is like Jesus.  We trust that the Holy Spirit is leading and he can bring awareness in your life in any number of ways.




Posture: Compassionate Curiosity

Purpose: To discover what God is saying.


Discern is where we help people discover what God is saying to them.  The Holy Spirit is the one doing the heart work.  Our role is to be full of compassion, not judgment. We stay curious, asking questions, to help people understand where they are and to get clarity around what God wants them to know.  We simply point people to Jesus and avoid trying to fix and save people.  We’ve noticed that when God speaks he usually reminds us of who he is, and who we are because of him. 



Posture: Empowered Ownership

Purpose: To create clear, simple ways to respond to God.


Do is where we find simple ways to respond to God.  God is the one who transforms us, not us trying harder to be better.  Once you’ve heard from God, it’s time to create clear and simple ways we can respond to the Good News that God is speaking!  Your response should be clear, simple and measurable.  We find it helpful to make two types of plans:

  1. Proactive Plan – A response to God you can live into throughout the week.

  2. Reactive Plan – A response to God you can live into when you enter the circumstance or relationship that God brought to light.


The 4Ds aren’t discipleship, but they help us do discipleship.  These four steps help us be faithful to hear and respond to God in community so that we can experience transformation in Jesus.

Dwelling in the Word

Dwelling in the Word is an ancient way of reading the Scriptures. It is a way to spiritually submit to the text as one way that God speaks to us, with willingness to be shaped by what God might want to say to us through the Scripture. In this way, we are being interpreted by the text together as we listen to it and respond to it. 


Here’s how we do it:

  • Pray that God would speak to us

  • Listen to the Word together

  • Allow for a time of silence to listen to God

  • Repeat (1x for each question)


Dwelling in the Word + The 4Ds

How do Dwelling and the 4Ds go together?

DIG – 1st Reading

  • Select a passage of Scripture.

  • Select someone to read the passage aloud.

  • What word or phrase is standing out?

  • Chew on that word or phrase as it is in the passage.

  • Allow at least two minutes of silence.

  • Remind people not to jump to life reflection.

  • Go around and share the word or phrase but don’t make connections to where it intersects with your life yet.


DISCERN – 2nd Reading

  • Have another group member read the passage aloud.

  • Where is your word or phrase intersecting with your life?

  • The goal here is to identify what you sense God is saying to you.

  • Allow at least two to three minutes of silence for this. Don’t rush it.

  • Go around and share. Make this conversational. Ask questions to help them discover why the word or phrase is important and what God wants them to know. The goal is not to fix the problem!


DO – 3rd Reading

  • Again, have another group member read the passage aloud.

  • Identify how you sense God inviting you to respond to him.

  • What would be a faithful response to what you’ve heard God say?

  • Allow at least two minutes of silence for this.

  • Go around and share proactive and reactive responses.


DEBRIEF – Next Week

  • How did you do with your proactive & reactive plans from last week?

  • Celebrate people’s faithfulness!

  • What is God teaching or showing you?

  • If plans were not lived into ask, “Do you want to talk about this again next week?”

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