Life Groups are integral to discipleship growth and providing pastoral care to individuals in a space where friendships and faith are fostered on a deeper and more personal level. We do this through fellowshipping, studying the Word together and creating space to experience the transformational power of the Holy Spirit.
Life Groups also play an integral role in providing support and accountability opportunities to one another.
Watch this video of Tim giving some useful tips about how to lead an effective Life Group discussion.
Life Group Components & Structure
Please consider and incorporate each of the elements of lifegroups outlined below. Let us know if you have any questions or would like some support.
Fellowship (Building Friendships)
A time of fellowshipping together creates community and the space for people to connect and develop friendships. It is important as a leader you help foster/create an environment at your life group that is conducive to helping building these connections. This could be achieved through:
- Breaking bread such as sharing desserts/snacks together (we recommend just snacks/dessert rather than a full meal).
- Facilitating connections between those in your group
- Promoting the art of listening well and asking open questions
- Encouraging the sharing of personal testimonies from members
- Having FUN! Play games together if you like.
Studying the Bible
The scriptures say the word of God is good for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness and that it is also living and God-breathed. What could be better than taking the time to breath it in and have that breath of God infuse and transform our lives. Through His word we grow in our understanding of who God is and we make space for Him speak into our lives. There are many resources out there to help you study the Bible, here are a few suggestions:
- Discovery Bible Studies – keep it simple, let the Word speak for itself
- Find a good commentary to help you prepare a study (e.g. John for Everyone by Tom Wright)
- Work your way through a book of the Bible, or do a theme based study
- Share leadership of the study time around capable members in your group don’t always be the one to lead – this will help grow those you are discipling.
Check out some useful resources, study guides and small group studies for Lifegroup Leaders on our shared drive.
Manly Life Church values creating space in all that we do for the Spirit of God to meet with His children and minister to their hearts and minds. It is important to make space during Life Groups to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit and allow God to minister by His Spirit and through His Spirit alive in you to those you are pastoring. In practice this might look like:
- A corporate time of worship and/or prayer together
- Praying for each other in smaller groups/pairs
- Soaking/meditation (sitting, lying down) and being still in God’s presence, listening/reflecting on the study. This is usually helpful with some soft instrumental worship playing.
- Leading a time of specific ministry relevant to your study time. Questions you might like to consider are:
- Are there any specific areas for repentance that have come up? Facilitate this with care and thoughtfulness. The aim for repentance is not to leave people feeling exposed or judged but set free and forgiven from their sins.
- Are there are particular blessings to speak over people?
- Is there a creative way to put into action what you have been studying? Eg. A time of journaling/writing a letter to God
You may wish to begin your time together with worship and prayer before entering into a study of the Bible and this is fine too but we would still recommend making space for a potentially shorter ministry time at the end of your Bible study. This gives people a chance to respond to things God has spoken to them about in the study..
Life Groups are ideally led by at least two leaders who can support and encourage each other.
- They happen midweek fortnightly
- Groups are encouraged to be between 8 – 12 persons
- A recommended schedule is 30min Fellowship time, 30-40min studying of the Word, 20-30min Active Ministry Time.
Specific Involvement & Responsibilities
Pastoral Care – As we care for the spiritual needs of those in our group, we will be confronted with a range of situations There will be areas of pastoral need that you are equipped to manage personally or as a group, but there will be areas that may need further support or to be referred on to Tim and Victoria to manage, and other areas where people will need to be referred to a trained councillor (we have Christian ones we can recommend for specific needs). If you are ever unsure just ask!
Group Support – If Manly Life Church is the extended family then Life Groups are like nuclear families within the church. There will be seasons of physical and emotional needs in people’s lives that as family you are able to give practical support for and learn the beauty of serving one another in love. It is important, though, to be mindful of maintaining healthy boundaries with those in your Life Group family (see ‘Healthy Boundaries Resource’ refereed to in Leadership section of website).
Teaching – The authority of the Bible is paramount in all our teaching and everything you teach should be in alignment with the Bible. When teaching and encouraging each other in Life Group, we uphold humility to correction and grace when correcting or challenging others. We are all on a journey in our faith so it’s important that Life Groups are a safe place for people to learn, ask questions and discover the truth together.
Facilitating –Be mindful that everyone should have the opportunity to speak should they so desire and that strong personalities don’t continually dominate discussions.
Punctuality –Starting and finishing on time shows your group that you value the time you and others have set aside to grow in Christ together.
Gifts and Serving – Help members discern or discover their giftings and encourage ways for them to use/grow their gifts in the life of the community. You are a primary point person for connecting members into ministry teams, promoting tithing, baptism and major events in the life of the church that are designed to help them grow.
Sharing Resources – When you find or use a great teaching resource with your group please share it in the shared drive previously mentioned.
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