No, you are not in a discipleship group. You are just hanging out with friends.
If you pressed me to to pin down a way to measure whether your Christian small group (d-group, huddle, outpost, home group, cell group or whatever your church calls it) is actually accomplishing discipleship, I would ask two questions.
Are you equally transparent with each other?
I don’t believe you are in a true discipleship group until confession is taking place. Is it expected and encouraged for people to be truly honest about personal struggles? Another way to ask the question would be this: Are you in a group where no part of your heart goes unshared? Until honesty becomes normal and expected you’re not there yet.
Are you being held accountable to love rightly?
Christian discipleship is first and foremost about forming what you love. It is not primarily an intellectual endeavor but a shaping of your heart. If you were to ask me a way to measure success in discipleship I would simply ask questions about how your affections have changed. You must be in a group that not only has true transparency but in mutual voluntary submission unilaterally holds each other accountable to love what Christ loved and how he loved. Personal accountability must exist.
Your group may be intellectually stimulating, filled with laughter, have delicious food in plenty, prayer and Bible reading, but without the aforementioned ingredients it’s still not a true discipleship group.
I fear that most Christian gatherings have really become small social clubs where honoring modern social norms has greater value than pursuing real holiness.
I believe we need a revival of real discipleship in our churches. Am I alone?