Posts Tagged accountability

Transparent Space

By Paul Wilkinson

Recall that the discipleship spaces from large to small proceed as: public space, social space, personal space, transparent space, and divine space. As the contexts move from public to divine, generally, accountability increases. Thus, divine space and transparent space would more naturally generate accountability than public spaces. And it is for that reason that the transparent and divine spaces are so significant: they readily provide a natural context for introspection, sin confession, and accountability for righteous living among the group members. As Greg Ogden notes, “Transformation occurs when we grapple with the truth of God’s Word in the context of transparent relationships. It is a biblical axiom that the Holy Spirit will have free sway in our lives to the extent to which we open ourselves up to one another.”[i] Transparent spaces afford just such an opportunity.
Transparent spaces generally contain 2-4 people, but I do not think that 6 people would destroy the effectiveness of them. Absalom suggests that they should be used primarily for intimacy, openness, and impact.[ii] This truth is further supported by the research of Greg Ogden. He writes that “my discipling paradigm had . . . been one-on-one. In addition to this traditional approach I led a threesome called a triad and a discipleship group of ten. I was startled by the difference in dynamics. I have come to see groups of three or four as the optimum setting for making disciples.”[iii] Ogden believes that the shift from hierarchical to relational dynamics, the sense of groupness, and the praxis of discipling others in the group are reasons for the increased effectiveness of triads and quads.
The JourneyOn Strategy provides vehicles for achieving transparent spaces. First are Bible Reading Groups. Bible Reading Groups are groups of 2-6 people who are committed to meeting regularly to share life, read the Bible, and talk about its significance. The general meeting is the walking through a series of questions about how God has been working in our lives, about what the text demonstrates about God’s nature and our response, I will statements about who to share the discussed truth with and how to better follow it in our lives, and prayer together. A simple structure generates transparency and growth as the group progress.
Second, Transforming Relationships help with transparent spaces. The relationships that the discipleship team provides are Spiritual Friends, Spiritual Mentors, Spiritual Coaches, and Spiritual Directors. Find more information on those relationships here:
How then do we utilize the effectiveness of transparent space within our LIFE Groups? First, make your members aware of these other discipleship avenues: Bible Reading Groups and Transforming Relationships. Second, consider launching some Bible Reading Groups out of your LIFE Group. Third, incorporate some creative methods for traditional rituals like smaller prayer groups ( Begin to pray about how you might be able to utilize Transparent Space and Divine Space within your LIFE Group. You will more holistically disciple your group and reduce your workload as your groups begins to take on more leadership.
[i] Greg Ogden, Discipleship Essentials: A Guide to Building Your Life in Christ (Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Connect, 2007), 10.
[iii] Ogden, Discipleship Essentials, 10.