What Are They?
Life Groups are made up of smaller groups of people in the church who meet in someone’s home on a regular basis – usually once each week or fortnight. They enable us to get to know God and each other in a more informal setting. We want to generate a relaxed atmosphere, where people can explore the Bible and its relevance for everyday life, discover and develop their own gifts in a smaller forum among friends. There are opportunities for sharing and prayer for the world and for each other.
How It Works
The structure is usually based around the ‘Four Ws’ – Welcome, Worship, Word and Witness. Different members – including children if present – may lead any or all of the sections. Some groups vary the order of the sections. It is helpful to think of each as containing reflection, activity and response:
Getting to know one another. It usually includes chat about the past week (reflection), an ‘ice-breaker’ question to get people talking (activity); and it may include prayer or ministry if appropriate (response). It may include a meal or a cup of tea.
Focusing on God, celebrating what he has done and is doing. We do not attempt to imitate congregational worship, but we use material appropriate for small groups.
Connecting the Bible to everyday life and helping one another to put it into practice. Reflection on what was learnt last week is important. The activity is teaching and application: finding out what God is saying, and what difference that makes. In many cell churches the subject is the teaching of the previous Sunday sermons, but the group may need to look at some other issue. If members of the group have not all heard the same teaching previously, there would need to be some teaching within this section through a tape or video, Bible study, or from someone with a gift of teaching. Always the important thing is how the teaching works out in practice. Afterwards, the response may be prayer and/or ministry.
Focusing outside the group, thinking especially about the commands to love our neighbours and to make disciples. We reflect on what we’ve done in the past and try to learn from it, and for our activity we plan for the future or share one another’s plans for individual witness and our progress or lack of it. We respond in prayer.