4 Ways to Put the Life in Your Life Group

It is possible to deny with our culture what we declare with our message. When I was a youth pastor in the late 2000s, I served at a church in Alabama who's tag line was The Caring Place. We had a season of exponential growth and  started reaching myriads of lost high school students who would sometimes say inappropriate things or extinguish their cigarettes in the parking lot before they came in the church building. I'll never forget an older deacon in our church telling me, "Kris those kids need to leave until they can get their act together." See, that church was denying with its culture what it was declaring with its message. We said we were the caring place, but when it came down to it, we only cared about people who looked and talked a certain way.  

In Life Groups at TSC, we want to create a culture of bringing people together to find community and take next steps. Here are 4 ways you can develop that culture in your group:

1. Connect Intentionally

In our culture, there is a phenomenon sociologists call crowded loneliness. You've likely experienced it before at the mall or a ball game. There are a lot of people around, but you really don't know anyone. Unfortunately that same thing can happen at TSC. That's why our hope is that everyone who calls TSC home can find real community in Life Groups. Your group should be a spiritual family where everyone feels known and loved.

ACTION STEP: Take some time over the next month to reach out to everyone on your roster who's not regularly attending and say something like, "Hey this is Kris. I just wanted to let you know we miss you at Life Group and we love you." 

2. Celebrate Joyfully 

Have you ever been to a family gathering or a party with friends and when you left you couldn't stop thinking about how great of a time you had? What if you cultivated that kind of atmosphere in your Life Group? There's no one who's ever walked the planet who would say, "You know I cannot stand having a great time." Friends we have more to celebrate than anyone else. We've found freedom in Jesus! There's absolutely no reason our group meetings should ever be dull and boring.

ACTION STEP: Plan a party. Maybe it's during your normal group meeting time. Maybe it's a different time. The point is, do life, have fun, and celebrate together the freedom that is yours in Jesus!

3. Confess Courageously

We've all drawn an imaginary line in our lives that I call the Line of Shame. Above the line are things we'll share openly about. Under the line are things that, if we share, we fear someone will reject us. The problem is, the sin that hides under that line will become strongholds in our lives if not confessed. Sin is like a fungus. It grows in the dark and dies in the light. This is why the apostle John said, "So walk in the light as He is in the light...".

Our Life Groups should be safe places for people to go below the line of shame to bring what is in darkness to light.

ACTION STEP: Go first in confession. Everything rises and falls on leadership. If you want a gospel culture where sin is dying in the light, then set the tone. Go first. Give your members the gift of getting to go next

4. Care Sacrificially

When Vanessa had cancer in 2019, our group brought us meals, sat with me at the hospital during her surgeries, prayed over us, texted us scripture, picked up our kids from school, held our heads up when we were weary, and the list goes on. All of our lives will fly apart at the seams at some point. And we need people we can count on to help us hold it together and keep going. As group leaders, you are the real pastors of TSC. You're the front lines of pastoral care in our church.

ACTION STEP: Serve each other and the community. What's your plan for caring for your group? Do you have a ministry coordinator? That would be a great way to share the load. Have someone be in charge of creating the meal train when one of your group members has a baby. You get the idea.

I'd love to hear from you. What are some ways you're weaving these 4 things into the culture of your Life Group?

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