Breaking Away from Group Life

I'll be sending an email on the subject of the Group Life small group curriculum next week to all group leaders. Here's the letter for those leaders that read the blog. You can ignore the email when it comes.

To break away from Group Life is not a sin. To ignore Group Life is malpractice. Do I have your attention yet?

There’s a fair amount of confusion out there on the subject of our Group Life curriculum. One idea seems to be that you can’t do other studies in the place of Group Life. That’s not our counsel. Let me try to clear the confusion.

If you, as a leader, feel that your group needs a dose of something (e.g., a more in-depth Bible study, a focused study on parenting, a marriage study, a book study, a video curriculum, etc.), you ought to pursue that with your group. Here are some guidelines, though, for doing so:

  • Get permission from your group. After all, most of them signed on with the idea of doing Group Life and most other studies cost money.
  • Tell your coach.
  • Be intentional. Group Life provides guided inductive Bible study that helps people dig in and study the Bible for themselves. Don’t dumb down the Grow portion of your small group. Good reasons to do something else include the desire to go into greater depth (more teaching, more preparation, etc.) or a needed focus you discern for your group (marriage, parenting, Bible basics, basic discipleship, money management, witnessing, etc.). “We just want to have more fun and less study” is not a good reason (wait until summer for that).
  • During the school year, follow the Group Life curriculum in everything except the Grow section (i.e., the Bible study portion) so that you don’t lose balance and get out of touch with the church. To do otherwise is really pastoral malpractice because we depend on our small groups for so much in our church life.
  • Get back to Group Life at least half the time or so. Guided inductive Bible study and tracking with the message series are powerful tools for discipleship. They teach people how to read the Bible for themselves and drive home application (remember, we’re supposed to be doers of the Word, not hearers only). More teaching and focused attention are often needed, but too much of that results in too much spoon-feeding, not enough personal discovery and sometimes too much information without enough application.

That’s it. Get out of a rut, mix things up, let the Spirit guide you as a leader and be responsible in those changes.