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What is a DNA Group and why do I care?

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Hey everyone, I miss you a ton and wanted to encourage you in a healthy direction during this time of distancing. I know we can use as much encouragement as we can get. As it’s been said, “No one has ever been over encouraged.”

I told a friend the other day that I probably couldn’t afford the quality of audit and consultation this pandemic has given me. What I mean by that is all of my best attempts to build a life and a family and a church is being exposed in both good and bad ways. Maybe you’ve sensed the same. We’re all being audited to some degree. Our best and worst efforts are on display. 

And maybe you’ve been tempted to feel shame for where you feel you’re lacking. Don’t. There’s no room for shame in the gospel-centered life. None. Condemnation for the believer died on the cross. We’re free to take what we’re learning right now, celebrate grace, and move forward. 

With the removal of large gatherings and a normal Sunday morning rhythm, our relational depth is exposed by this audit. Some of us are doing life so tightly with others that COVID-19 didn’t create an issue relationally. Taking it in stride, some of us have continued to Zoom or call our way through this, driving quality into your times. 

Some of us however are realizing over the weeks however how much we relied on a Sunday morning to build tight relationships. Once that rhythm disappeared, the loneliness started to creep in. 

I miss Sunday too. Badly. I miss seeing your faces. I cry over it often, but Sunday was never the bedrock for my relationships. There’s simply no way anything deep can be built in the 9 minutes before a service and the 3.5 minutes after service while the kids are melting down. 

Here’s my encouragement: Build or nurture tight life on life relationships in this time, while we have the time to focus on it. In Hebrews 10:24–25, we hear “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” There is no pandemic clause here. 

Life-on-life gospel centered relationships are our norm as a church. We call these DNA groups. I’m sure other healthy churches call them something different. It’s an acronym for Disciple, Nurture, and Accountability, They are not hyper masculine confession booths to be cleansed, but gospel environments where we can be known deeply. 

They are smaller (one one one, or one on few) gospel-centered and gender specific groups that allow a much deeper peer discipleship moment providing the most exposure to gospel ministry. 

Some of you are already in one. Some of you have been meaning to get around to it. Some of you have had no intention to do that but are yet lonely. I’m in a couple DNAs myself, and they do the heavy lifting that a service struggles to do. These groups can meet anywhere anytime now. Without kids, and without a ton of administration they are highly portable. 

Here are some great ground rules for a DNA group: 

  1. Anything can be asked.  
  2. You must tell the truth
  3. Everything is confidential
  4. There is no judgement. 

Friends, this is our normal for quite a while. With churches struggling to find ways to gather where it makes sense, this is the best way to stay connected, growing, and known. Even with churches regrouping a semblance of their Sunday services, we’re having to ready ourselves for a yo-yo effect in case we have to flatten the curve and again go into social distancing, which is expected by many. With so many question marks - we can all do this right now and we can do it well. 

The #1 reason I hear from people as to why they aren’t in one is that it’s hard to find one. Agreed, they are hard. Then again, if it was easy, you wouldn’t value it or grow. I’m glad it’s hard to pick up the phone and start one. I’m glad it’s hard to be committed to one. Hard things bring value. If the people you’re trying to connect to are hard then it’s exactly what the author of Hebrews had in mind. The gospel is perfect for these groups. 

If you need one of these groups, contact your COM leader. If you aren’t in a COM group, click here and let us help you find one. Be committed to these tightest of relationships in this season. 

Posted by Luke Thomas with

How to lament like a champ...

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“Both the child and the cynic walk through the valley of the  shadow of death. The cynic focuses on the darkness; the child focuses on the Shepherd.” (Paul Miller, A Praying Life)

A lament is a specific type of prayer in the midst of sorrow, longing, and the feeling that things aren’t as they are supposed to be. We are always dependent on God. We cry out to God in lament when we feel we have nowhere else to turn. It’s a child-like prayer that is aware of the darkness but also focused on Jesus, our Good Shepherd.

Lament neither gives up on hope nor does it ignore reality. It recognizes where we are and where we need to be and cries out for God to narrow that gap. In Romans 4:18, Paul uses an unusual phrase to describe Abraham’s lament: “In hope he believed against hope.” Abraham stakes his life on hope, but never takes
his eyes off reality. That’s faith expressed through lament.

Lament expresses faith in God and expects God to act. It recognizes God rightly gets the glory if the situation changes. Refusing to lament attempts to short-circuit God and attempts to limit his ability to act. It allows you to claim credit if the situation ever changes.

Writing A Lament (Adults)

The Psalmists typically follow a basic pattern when they write their laments.

Direct Address | Address God directly, expressing
dependence on him. You have nowhere else to turn; as one scholar wrote, to turn anywhere else is blasphemous idolatry.

Lament / Cry for Help | Express your specific compliant to God.
Confession of Sin / Assertion of Innocence | Sometimes you suffer because of something you’ve done. Other times you suffer because of something done to you. And other times it's a combination of both. Confessing your sin is a sign of humility; taking responsibility for another’s sin is refusal to admit hurt and can be a sign of arrogance.

Imprecation | Imprecation leaves your desires for justice, vengeance, and vindication with God, asking him to act. This side of the cross, imprecation should include a longing for repentance, meaning the punishment for the sin falls fully on the shoulders of Christ. It can also include a longing for those in authority (often the government) to execute justice.

Confidence in God’s Response | The expression of confidence in God often starts with, “But you…” This is a theologically full statement, often including applicable attributes of God.

Praise | Most laments end with a statement of praise to God.

Writing A Lament (Children)

Dear God,
You are the great king over everything and you are my father.
I need your help because, ______________________________________________.

When I think about this, I feel ___________________________________________.

Here is how I want you to help __________________________________________.

I can’t fix my problem, but you can! You are the most powerful one in the whole universe. So please help me. Please fix this. Please make it right. Thank you for listening to my prayer, my father, almighty God. Amen.

Big thanks to Elliot Grudem, Tremper Longman, and Paul Miller for this material. 

Click here to access our class material on how to lament.


Posted by Luke Thomas with