Adult DGroups Adult DGroups

Adult Discipleship Groups

As a church, Shades exists to send transformed people to influence their world for Christ. We believe small groups offer a vital place where transformation happens. DGroups provide intentional structure for transformational discipleship where we engage in gospel dialogue, transparent friendships, and seeking the lost. If you’ve stumbled upon this page and are interested in joining a DGroup, feel free to complete the form below and browse the FAQs. If you are leading or participating in a group, you will find all the resources you need in the links and FAQs. If you have any questions, email Bradley Patton.


  • Groups consist of a facilitator plus 3-4 people, max.
  • Groups are comprised of all men or all women, groups are not mixed gender.
  • Groups meet once a week, for an hour and a half.
  • Groups meet (1) in a home, (2) off church-campus in non-public place with little distraction, or (3) on church-campus for childcare needs.
  • Group participants commit to a year of content over 12 to 18 months.
  • Groups follow the academic year calendar – January to May, August to December. 
  • Group facilitators meet at the beginning of each term for debriefing and training.
  • At the conclusion of the DGroup, participants are encouraged to begin their own DGroup.

DGroup Goals

  • Gospel Dialogue - Each person has a voice, each person contributes, each experience in life is connected to our belief in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  • Transparent Friendship - Each person is known, and makes effort to know others in the group.
  • Seeking the Lost - Each person takes initiative to build intentional relationships with people in their workplaces or neighborhoods who are far from God so that they may share the Gospel with them before their DGroup finishes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can facilitate a DGroup?
Anyone who has previously participated in a DGroup.

Who can participate in a DGroup?
Anyone who has made a profession of faith in Jesus.

Can someone that I lead to Jesus join our DGroup?
In short, no.  Groups are closed for the sake of continuity, progression, and goal toward replication.  The new believers class is formatted in a way that you are encouraged to attend with them, and then encourage them to go to your Sunday School class with you after the 6 weeks.  They would be able to join a DGroup at the next entry point.

How are DGroups formed?
This varies by group. Most join through connection to someone who has participated in a DGroup and is recruiting for a future DGroup. Others join by expressing interest online, and then being connected to those who are recruiting for future DGroups. Only those who have previously participated in a DGroup can facilitate a DGroup.

When do new DGroups begin?  
Each fall (September) and spring (February).

What are people supposed to do until then new groups launch?
Those wanting to participate in a DGroup before launch dates can get involved in a Women’s Ministry Table Group or in a Men of Shades Bible Study as bridge to DGroup participation.

What about participants who don’t want to/aren’t ready to facilitate a group after participating?
Replication is explained as the end goal of the group from the outset.  Participants will grow in spiritual maturity (transformation) through the process and some who were unlikely to facilitate their own group at the beginning will be ready by the end.  Others may choose to participate in another DGroup with a different facilitator at a later date, but the end goal is always every disciple making disciples.

Does every group have to use the DGroup structure and content?
In short, yes.  Anyone at Shades has the liberty to create and participate in any small group discipleship structure that they choose, but the DGroup structure and content is what we are endorsing church-wide.  We offer continued training, support, and oversight of those who are a part of the DGroup structure.

Is there childcare available for DGroup meetings?
Ideally, groups meet away from the church campus - in a home or a public place with little distraction - but we know that's not always possible if you are a parent.  Childcare is available for DGroup meetings on Sunday and Wednesday nights at 6pm, and Thursday mornings at 10am.  Group participants who utilize childcare must meet on campus.  Childcare reservations must be made in advance by emailing

Are DGroups replacing Sunday School?
No.  DGroups are designed to function in companion to Sunday School.  Goals for each venue are distinct.

Why aren’t groups mixed gender?
The transparent friendship in a DGroup context will involve intimate vulnerability, confession, and an element of accountability.  This is best done in gender divided groups.  Those wanting to be connected to a group with their spouse or those of opposite gender will find that within the Sunday School context.

Thanks for your interest in DGroups. If you're interested in joining a DGroup, fill out the form below. By submitting this form, you're indicating you've read and agree with the expectations and are ready to begin.

Contact Bradley Patton at with any questions about DGroups.