1. Discipleship will encompass your entire Sattler experience. If you commit to a term at Sattler, you also commit to being a student of Jesus Christ. Discipleship is not just a buzzword here. We take studying the Word so seriously we require every student to learn Biblical Greek and Hebrew—a requirement no other college in the U.S. makes.
2. Journey groups are the heartbeat of our discipleship program. As a Sattler student, you will be placed in a small discipleship group consisting of two or three students and a mentor. Every week, you will meet with your journey group to pray, share your spiritual journeys, and encourage each other to grow. As a group, you will engage in some structured activities such as memorizing Scripture and studying spiritually upbuilding books. However, much of your time together will be unstructured discussion time and will vary from group to group. These unstructured discussion times, says journey group mentor Tania Taylor, are vital in building relationships that catalyze spiritual growth.
3. In your journey group, you will discuss key areas of spiritual growth. These vital spiritual indicators are:
- Time spent in God’s Word.
- Personal devotional life.
- Time spent with important relationships.
- Sharing the gospel.
Your journey group leader may frame the discussion around several questions:
- Have you been fervent in the word, prayer, and fasting?
- Have you looked at anything immoral, foolish, or pornographic?
- Have you spent quality time with your family?
- Have you shared the gospel with someone this week?
With the support of your journey group comrades, you will begin to establish healthy spiritual habits that last a lifetime.
4. Your journey group will equip you to fulfill the Great Commission. According to dean of students Zack Johnson, the goal of Sattler’s discipleship program is to equip students, faculty, and staff to share the gospel and make disciples as Jesus commanded. All other spiritual indicators lead to this primary one. This goal was the hardest for his team to live up to, says mentor Clark Wray. “We have this inbuilt tendency to be fearful of interrupting people, fearful of being rude.” Often, he says, we worry more about that than what’s going on in someone’s life or their spiritual condition. Although sharing the gospel is never easy, Christ commands it. By supporting each other in this endeavor, your journey group will grow into a confident, Christlike discipleship team.
5. Your journey group will complement your church life. “Journey group is by no means a replacement for the vital relationship in the church body,” says Johnson. “We have been ecstatic with how students are taking the lessons learned in Sattler and living it back into their church life.” Wray agrees. He loves watching young people move from confusion or
indifference on the role of the church in their Christian lives to excitement over being involved in the church as an outworking of God’s kingdom.
6. Your experience will be unique. Taylor says the group of young women she leads have different aspirations and struggles than the male students. In her group, for example, pornography is not the temptation it is to many young men (though this is not the case for all women). Instead, she and “her girls” have spent much time talking through relational issues. Every journey group is different, and you and your joys and struggles will help to shape the dynamic of yours.
7. You will be given the opportunity to experiment and learn in an environment of trust. Johnson calls journey groups a “discipleship laboratory” where members can test ideas for spiritual growth and evangelism and get feedback on what works and what doesn’t. For example, this year the groups experimented with a habit-building practice where students were given marbles to reward good spiritual habits, with a certain amount of marbles culminating in a special reward for the group. Some students loved it; some hated it. Many journey groups modified the practice to fit their own preferences—and that is as it should be in an atmosphere where new ideas are embraced and students have the opportunity to learn what works for them.
8. Your journey group leader will struggle and grow with you. Sattler’s journey group leaders are human, just like you. They experience fear, sorrow, temptation, and family problems, and it takes tremendous vulnerability for them to open their hearts and share. “I remember raising my hand,” Taylor says, recalling her journey group briefing, “and saying, ‘I’m not sure I’m going to be able to do all this and do a good job.’” Although she still doesn’t feel she has all the answers, she says of her group: “I love them so much and they call me higher.” Wrays says that his role as journey group leader has pushed him to grow in his own spiritual life. Seeing the young men he mentors “doing way better in so many areas of life than I did when I was 20” is hugely encouraging to him. He rejoices to see lives transformed, young men overcoming impurity, and young people reaching out to build relationships.
9. Stepping into leadership will help you grow. You will occasionally be asked to lead your journey group for a weekly meeting. Eventually, you may have the opportunity to mentor a team of entry level students. Sattler’s discipleship program is designed to let seasoned students become responsible for those just starting, a method which nurtures spiritual growth. “Active leading,” says Wray, “pushes you further than you think. It’s really healthy for people to step into leadership.”
10. Every journey is personal. Sattler doesn’t offer a one-size-fits-all discipleship program. “We call it a journey group for a very specific reason, in that your walk with Christ is a journey,” Johnson says. The discipleship program creates a space for you to grow in the trajectory towards Christ which you have already begun. Every individual’s journey is different. You can’t quantify a person’s character, says Johnson, and “you can’t put a number on discipleship.” Sattler College cannot guarantee your spiritual victory, your relationship with Christ, or your relationship with your fellow students. Those victories are within your power and no one else’s. However, we commit to creating an atmosphere where Jesus is King, to cultivating godly character in your life, and to supporting you with love and Biblical guidance every step of the way.