It is almost time for our first session of the 2021-2022 Life groups to begin! I have scheduled the Life Group sign-up event to be Sunday, August 29. We’ll say more about this later. Our goal is 100% participation by our membership. Life groups are a vital part of our discipleship program at the Boise church. Let me tell you what I mean… Those who study church growth and discipleship tell us that churches are made up of three very important kinds of groups. The first group is our worship assembly. This is usually our largest gathering. While it is wonderful for our corporate praise and worship, it provides little interaction between members – except the typical, superficial small talk that occurs before and after services. It’s difficult even to know everybody’s name in the worship assembly; the bigger the church grows, this difficult task becomes impossible.
The second kind of group is what is known as fellowship groups. Fellowship groups are best represented by our Bible classes, but they could also describe other fellowship gatherings (e.g., potlucks, showers, ministry meetings, etc.). Fellowship groups are medium sized groups of around 30 to a maximum of around 80 members. They provide much more interaction between members. Generally, it is possible to know everyone in the group, but this gets more and more difficult as the group grows larger. Fellowship groups are great settings for providing the sharing of ideas, opinions, and goals.
The third kind of group is what is known as cell groups or, more familiarly, small groups. Technically, a small group could have as few as two members (we would call this a 1:1 Bible study). However, a small group program usually tries to keep its groups, between 3 to 12 in. size. When small groups grow beyond 15-16 members they stop functioning as small groups. What’s so special about small groups? They provide an informal setting where members can share, learn, study, and grow at the deepest levels of personal intimacy. If assembly groups provide “lip to lip,” superficial communication, and fellowship groups provide “head to head” sharing of thoughts and opinions, then small groups provide “heart to heart” sharing of feelings.
All three groups (in one form or the other) are necessary for church life, discipleship, and the koinonia fellowship described in the Scripture. Churches have historically done very well with the first two groups, but not so well with small groups. This is due to a number of reasons – an already full church calendar, hesitancy to explore feelings and emotions, fear of something different, lack of organizational structure, etc.
We will have a group leader training session, Saturday, August 21, from Nine to Noon. We will arrange a make-up session for those who cannot attend, but please attend this session if at all possible. I will be contacting you personally for your commitment. If you have never led a life group or hosted one in your home, contact me and I’ll give you more information.
We will have a kick-off on Sunday, August 29. You will be asked to sign-up for the group of your choice. We are redesigning our life group program and I will share the details in days to come. However, we are keeping all groups currently meeting as legacy groups (if they so desire). My thinking is that if they survived covid and lockdown, they are doing something right!
I will be preaching on the need for life groups the next three Sundays (beginning August 15). Make sure you come these three weeks if you want to learn more about life groups and especially plan to be here on the 29th for our kick off!
God Bless! Joey