Discipleship Circles:
Connected. Accountable. Spirit-Led.

Click here to view video about Discipleship Circles

Click here to download an explanatory brochure (pdf)

The Virginia Conference now has a special Facebook page for Discipleship Circles.  Go to facebook.com/DiscipleshipCircles and "Like" the page so you can keep up to date with all the information and stories about how United Methodist in the Virginia Conference are reclaiming our heritage, reconnecting with each other, revitalizing our congregations,  strengthening our spirituality and plugging in to the power of the Holy Spirit through Discipleship Circles.

Discipleship Circles are a new movement with a new purpose: new opportunities that will help leaders throughout the Virginia Conference support each other spiritually, collaborate with each other for increased fruitfulness, and hold each other accountable for constant improvement. Actually, this is not a new movement, but a new commitment to live out the model of accountable discipleship offered to us by John Wesley: sharing of our spiritual journeys to encourage us as we grow stronger in our obedience to Christ, discern God’s vision for our faith communities, and join in the movement of the Holy Spirit to transform the world.
Discipleship Circles, first and foremost, are about spiritual vitality – your own and within your local church.  The practice of spiritual disciplines is the foundation for mutual support and accountability.  The vitality of the local church will rise from this foundation as church leaders (clergy and lay) faithfully respond to Jesus’ call to make disciples. Through collaborative learning and strengthened partnerships in ministry, clergy and lay leaders will be energized and empowered to lead our churches into a new future of effective disciple-making.  
What makes Discipleship Circles different from other spiritual formation groups?

  • A new level of trust and collaboration is required which focuses on clergy and lay partnerships in ministry and church-to-church interaction centered on prayer, spiritual renewal, and supportive relationships.  Each Discipleship Circle is a mixture of clergy and laity from across churches.
  • This is not just another study or support group for spiritual formation, but a group of church leaders prayerfully discerning the call or area of focus for collaborative learning and sharing.  The discussions will include a sharing of local church data (Vital Signs) and work toward established goals.
  • Discipleship Circles do not have an established time frame (like Disciple Bible Study’s 36-weeks), but they also are not expected to be on-going, long term covenant groups (like Emmaus Reunion Groups). Each group will determine when it is time to celebrate its Holy Ending – when it feels its work together is done.  At that time, participants will re-commit themselves to being attentive to God, to creation, to one another, and to the vitality of the local congregation.

For additional information about Discipleship Circles, contact the Center for Lay Leadership Excellence at (800) 768-6040.



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The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060
P.O. Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606
(804) 521-1100
Click here for directions to the Center