Life Group Crash Course
Life Groups are groups of 3–5 men or 3–5 women who meet together for personal discipleship. Like everything else at Cities Church, this grows out of our mission to make disciples. Specifically, Life Groups are an extension of who we are as disciples, and of what it means to make disciples.
When it comes to who we are as disciples, Life Groups are the part of our church structure where we are intentional about living out our identity as servants like Jesus (as disciples we are worshipers, servants, and missionaries). Life Groups are the place where we serve others in personal discipleship.
When it comes to what it means to make disciples, Life Groups are the part of our mission where we make disciples in depth. Discipleship involves baptizing and teaching — conversion and counsel, multiplying and maturing. Life Groups are the place where we learn together to obey all of Jesus’s commands and live under his lordship.
Life Group Mechanics
1. We will offer training to Life Group point-persons.
We say point-persons because we see Life Groups as mutual discipleship. It is not designed to be mentor-mentee. We are all together in this, walking together, following Jesus together, serving one another together. The basic aim of each Life Group meeting is to have heart-level conversation, and we provide sermon discussion questions as a guide. But in addition to providing these questions, and a handbook resource on Life Groups, there will routine meetings to train Life Group point-persons.
2. We will not assign Life Groups.
As we spend time getting to know one another, building relationship, and sharing stories, both within our Community Groups and in the church as a whole, members are encouraged to start a new Life Group or join an existing Life Group (with any members from the church, whether in your Community Group or in another Community Group). If you need a little help in forming a Life Group, let your Community Group leader know, but we will not assign groups.
3. Life Groups will operate on a six-month schedule.
Members have the option to stay in Life Groups or to reconfigure Life Groups as organic friendships emerge within the church outside the group.
There will be two windows throughout the year to start new Life Groups: in April (going through September); or in October (going through March). This means Life Groups will span six months. You can stay in the same Life Groups as long as you want, but you are never “stuck in a group.” You have the option to start a new Life Group if that makes most sense.
Life Group Expectations
How should we think about Life Groups?
First, Life Groups are like fingerprints, they each are different.
Even as we move toward a shared structure to our Life Group meetings, each Life Group is still going to be different — because we as individuals are different and we are at different places in our journey of discipleship. So, expect your Life Group to be different from past small groups or accountability huddles you’ve been part of. And I think that is something even to celebrate.
Second, Life Groups require the long view.
In other words, we need to be patient. If we come in with too many high expectations, or wish-dreams as Bonhoeffer would say, then we’re going to be disappointed with how slow we think our Life Group is moving along. The goal is not to become BFFs, but to help one another follow Jesus. So take a deep breath and give it some time. We don’t prefer you hop Life Groups after every six months. Stick it out, invest, have the long view.
Third, Life Groups are about serving, not being served.
We come to Life Groups to serve others. It is where we wash others’ feet (metaphorically). If everyone in the Life Groups comes to serve one another then everyone will be served. And sometimes, yes, there are specific needs or crises that will require the entire Life Group to rally around it, and give all of their time to it, and that will be okay with us if we come looking to serve others, not mainly to be served ourselves.
That is what Jesus did for us. “He came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45) — and the more we know him and become like him, the more we will be able to serve others with his heart.