The New Testament makes it clear that disciples are in a fight. In order to be like Jesus and live out the mission of God in the world, we have to learn how to contend for our faith and fight the good fight.
Jude 1:3 (NIV)
Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.
2 Timothy 4:7 (NLT)
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.
1 Timothy 6:12 (NLT)
Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.
Jesus’ last command to his followers was for them to “make disciples.” Jesus’ model of discipleship was life on life but not everyone received equal access to Him. He chose a team of twelve men, but even within that team he offered a deeper level of intimacy to Peter, James, and John. Beyond the twelve were the seventy-two, then the one hundred and twenty, and then there were the crowds. Jesus created a discipling movement by establishing a basic principle when it came to following Him: Every disciple is being discipled and then in turn discipling others.
Fight Clubs are closed environments where a small group of people learn together how to “contend for the faith.” In Fight Club, members establish a discipling rhythm, learning to recognize God’s voice and then respond to whatever God is saying to them. Using the Fight Club meeting (or huddle), a daily scripture/devotional book, journaling, prayer, and mentor observation, those being discipled are led to establish a pattern that helps create a pattern of continual maturation as people become more and more like Jesus. In Fight Club we orient ourselves to continual transformation and becoming lifelong learners of Jesus.
Fight Clubs don’t grow by adding more people to an existing one. They grow by the discipled creating new Fight Clubs and discipling others. Fight Club leaders act as the primary discipler of the members of the group, not as facilitators. Leaders are the mentors; members are being discipled. The focus of the Fight Club is not on the leader and their life but rather on the life of those being discipled.
In small groups, creating a warm, friendly environment with few-to-no challenges is the most important thing. At the end of sharing, we can all simply agree to disagree after having a thought provoking conversation. In contrast, the job of the Fight Club leader ultimately isn’t to create the warmest, most comfortable environment. The mentor’s job is to create an environment that is a safe place to be honest, but one of accountability, action, learning, encouragement, and challenge. Rather than a thought provoking conversation, the goal is to answer the question, “What is God saying to you?” and formulate an active response.
People miss bible studies or small groups if things come up or perhaps people may not feel like attending that night. In Fight Club, the expectation is that you never miss a huddle unless it is absolutely unavoidable. Leaders hold their members accountable to this expectation.
Small groups often revolve around particular curriculums, DVDs, or a very specific Bible study theme or topic often decided by the group as a whole. The direction and trajectory of Fight Club is guided by where the mentor feels the Holy Spirit is leading individuals in the group and by the particular kairos moments people within the group are experiencing.
Researcher George Barna did a research project in American Protestant churches seeking to better understand how God transforms people’s lives. He discovered and identified several of the developmental processes, experiences, and obstacles that are common across the lives of American Christians of all backgrounds. While the details of people’s developmental story differ, his research found a normative spiritual development path towards Christ-likeness. What he found was that most American Christians, according to the research, never get beyond awareness and concern about sin and its effects. Most church programs (small groups, accountability groups, Bible studies, etc.) are designed to help people have awareness of sin and engaging in religious activity but are deficient in significantly moving people farther down the road to Christ-likeness. What people need is not necessarily more information but a catalyst for moving them to a deeper level in their journey with Christ.
Fight Club is meant to be such a catalyst. Fight Club is designed to take a follower of Jesus beyond awareness and concern for sin to a place of repentance and real life change. Christ followers who choose to join Fight Club will learn how to move to a deeper level in their walk with Christ. By agreeing to be discipled, challenged, and held accountable, Fight Club members are trying to move past their awareness, religious activity, and brokenness, to a deeper work of God in their hearts. Fight Club doesn’t just inform but acts as a catalyst to help act on becoming more like Jesus. Can there be a more important work?
We learn to be disciples by becoming life-long learners of Jesus. The key to this is learning to always listen to the voice of God and respond. This is how we know God. This is the foundation of every Fight Club. Fight Club is centered around two questions: What is God saying to you and what are you going to do about it?