|Discipleship in Groups|
Groups are using the Omega Discipleship series, available from the church.
Regular group gatherings normally consist of 4 important sections:
Whilst groups are not required to use all sections every time, they do provide a 'balanced diet' when used regularly. Each section is designed to help the group grow in relationship together (in), grow in relationship with God (up) and grow in mission (out). This simple equation of in-up-out is what helps change the average 'house group' into a vibrant Discipleship Group that exists not only for its own benefit but as a blessing to others.
The 4 'Gs' are designed to help our Discipleship Groups grow in a holistic manner...
Normally an icebreaker, GATHER is all about helping people belong, and to open up and share something of themselves in a safe environment. If the average person was asked to explain their faith, or some personal detail of their life, they would most likely freeze up unless they felt secure with the group of people they were in. Gather / icebreaker is designed to encourage self-disclosure in a non-threatening manner. It helps people break the 'sound barrier' - that fear of hearing their own voice in public. Once a person is more confident with speaking about themselves and their life experiences in a small group setting, they are likely to share more deeply with those in their group. This deepens relationships and opens the way for prayer and support in times of need.
It is easy to say a prayer and 'tick the box', but that is not what makes for holistic Small Groups. Worship ought to be about encountering God. Worship is intimacy with God, but that is not really possible in a group setting if the group does not have at some depth in relationships with each other. When people learn to worship together, it enhances their spiritual growth. Worship is what marks Small Groups out from other kinds of groups. We gather in Small Groups to experience God more deeply and glorify him in as we grow in faith. What better way to ensure this happens than by welcoming God into our midst when we meet together?
Normally based on the OMEGA DISCIPLESHIP series, the idea behind the study is to ensure we are not only hearers of the WORD of God but doers of it! So although we use a Study Booklet group members are encouraged to explore beyond the notes and work out how these apply to their life, and what they plan to do about it (and when!). In other words we are committed to growing people to maturity in their faith in Jesus Christ. This is where the rubber hits the road. The DiGs are a way for members to help each other in this process; applying what they are hearing. It is not always possible to attend the Sunday meeting, so sermons are recorded and you can download them from our download page.
This is the component that most easily slips off the radar. And yet growing numerically is a clear intention of the DiG. If groups are NOT growing they tend to stagnate and become less useful in terms of discipling and pastoring people. So each week groups spend time praying for those who do not yet know Jesus, and also planning ways to be good news to those around them. This can be through special events to invite their friends to. It can be through acts of kindness. The opportunities are endless, but unless a group is actively sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, it will not grow up in faith and Christian maturity. The apostle Paul put it like this in one of his letters; "I pray you may be active in sharing your faith so that YOU will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ." Sharing faith and growing in faith go hand in hand!