What is an ID group?
An ID group is a small fellowship of 3-6 that meets weekly or bi-weekly to study the Bible together, encourage one another, practice accountability, and pray for each other. The format is intentionally simple, with a focus on growing in one’s relationship with Jesus and with His Church.
How to know if someone is ready for ID group
The chief goal of ID is that members mature in holiness as they learn to deny their natural fleshly desires and live in loving union with Jesus. Prerequisites include:
1. Repentance and faith in Jesus Christ
2. A desire for discipleship, accountability, and community within the local church
3. Submission to traditional biblical teachings on sexuality and marriage. ID members should acknowledge that sexual relationships or acts between members of the same gender are a sin and that the biblical model of marriage is, as God designed it, a lifetime commitment between a man and a woman. (Gen. 2:20-25, Matt. 19:4-6)
If an individual expresses interest in joining an ID group but does not hold these beliefs, then they should be directed toward one-on-one discipleship with a mature believer in the church. Discipleship is still vital, but ID membership is not advisable. ID is for fully committed, surrendered followers of Christ, and the entire group will suffer if even one member is still undecided or outright rejecting biblical teachings on sexuality and marriage. Those identifying as “Side A” or “affirming” will not be comfortable in an ID group, and the group will not be encouraged or edified by their participation.
What a healthy ID group looks like
An effective ID group will include the following elements:
- Discipleship: Equipping members to walk in the light and practice the rhythms of spiritual disciplines in intimate relationship with Jesus
- Basic Training in the reality of spiritual warfare: Training to fight a good fight, stay the course, and help others do the same
- Compassion: Showing each other mercy, grace and forgiveness
- Encouragement: Breathing the life-giving hope of the Word into each other through encouraging words
- Prayer: Learning to pray with power and authority, for ourselves, each other, and the Kingdom of God
- Holy Relationships: Knowing Jesus and learning to love Him with our whole heart. Seeing others as Jesus sees them and learning to love them with a pure heart and a clear conscience.
- Heb 3:13 “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
- 1 Thess 5:11 ” Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
- Gal 6:2 “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
- Rom 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
- James 5:16 “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
- Rom 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
It can also help to understand what ID groups are NOT. ID groups are not intended to be
- Support groups: ID groups don’t meet to make everyone feel better about themselves. We all have our struggles and besetting sins. A wise ID group leader avoids the temptation to let the meeting focus on these things. Loving encouragement and godly counsel is important, of course, but if discipleship isn’t the goal—if knowing and loving Jesus isn’t at the center of it all—then what is accomplished will be temporary at best. Rather than focus on the problem, focus on the solution: abiding in Christ.
- Accountability groups: Although confession among the saints is important, ID is not solely an accountability forum. Most of us need daily accountability, not just a weekly confession. For day-to-day accountability, members should have one or two faithful Christian friends with whom they can practice confession and intercessory prayer. In the ID meeting, limit confession to the context of prayer.
- Conversion therapy in disguise: We do not believe in or endorse the failed concept of “conversion therapy.” The goal of ID is not a “conversion to heterosexuality” but a closer relationship with Jesus. As we learn to abide in His love and submit to His lordship, we will experience transformation. What that change looks like is up to God, but there are some evidences of healing which should take place including denial of sinful desires, identification with Christ, and commitment to holiness.