The Seven Commitments are the foundational rules of engagement for how band members should respect and honor each other. Many support communities and groups that have as their purpose transformation begin their meetings with some simple guidelines. For example, Celebrate Recovery communities kick off their small groups by reading the five guidelines, and Alcoholics Anonymous similarly reads the Twelve Traditions at the start of their meetings. In each model, there’s a framework to help set the tone and focus of their time together. They create a safe culture from which to share. While we are not suggesting that a discipleship band is a recovery group, we have learned much from these contexts about the true nature of discipleship—namely, that in highly relational environments, honesty is key, and the culture must be safe and affirming. We suggest reading the Seven Commitments at the start of each meeting for the first four weeks, and then revisiting them at least monthly from then on. While we’ll unpack each of these in greater detail later in the study, here’s a brief overview.
1. RESPECT THE CLOCK
You have 15–20 minutes to share. Do your best to stick to that timeframe.
2. CHALLENGE BY CHOICE
You have permission to skip a question at any time. For example, you can say, “I don’t have anything on question 4 this week.”
3. NO CROSS-TALK
When someone is sharing, don’t give advice or interrupt.
4. ONE COUNSELOR (Come, Holy Spirit)
When someone is sharing, listen deeply and pay attention to how the Holy Spirit might prompt you to pray.
5. COMFORT WITH EMPATHY
Hold space for others with open hearts. Rather than offering pity or sympathy, show up and tune in—bless, encourage, and build up.
6. COMMUNITY OF GRACE
When someone confesses sin, pardon by saying, “In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.” If someone shares a secret, thank them for their courage and never condemn.
7. STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL
Never share another person’s story, struggles, successes, sins, or secrets outside the group.
Father, may your Spirit be with my bandmates today. I ask for the blessing that they might know and experience your love and affection for them today. God, help me to be honest with them. Help me know how much to share, how much not to share, and help us navigate the friendship with grace. Help me trust that you love me exactly where I am today. You see me, you know me, You love me Father, and I am your child. Amen.
For Band Interaction
Which of these commitments do you find most challenging and why?