LifeGroups are core in our strategy to build community and aid spiritual formation in those who call our church their home. One of our values puts it like this:
That is why we place great importance on equipping our LifeGroup leaders with resources they need to impact those in their LifeGroup. As volunteer leaders, we recognize that they live busy lives and are investing their valuable time into the lives of the people who are part of their “LifeGroup” community. We focus on providing tools that are easy to use and help the group to dive a little deeper into the themes we are focusing on as a church.
Each week notes are made available for the leader to use. The notes help to unpack Sunday teaching and stimulate discussion about what their community feels God is teaching them through the current teaching series. The notes include:
The notes provide leaders with a condensed (usually one page), easy to follow programme which takes them from start to finish with the minimal preparation time.
Notes are uploaded to an open website (a free Google offering) each week after our Sunday services ready for use the following week.
There are times however that one of the leaders wants their group to focus on something outside of our weekly notes and teaching theme. After all, the leader knows his community a little better than we as the staff often do. There is a wealth of excellent LifeGroup curriculum available now. Over the years we have tried to help our groups access these resources. We started a library where people could “borrow” Dvds and a study guide. (Yes and we all know what happens when Christians “borrow” things at church). We then made them available for purchase by the group and later provided links for the groups to purchase directly.
More recently as a church, we have invested in a church subscription to RightNow Media. It is a digital media library with thousands of fantastic Christian videos, and it is now available to everyone at Milton Keynes Christian Centre for free! (Note: It is free to our members because we pay a church subscription). Essentially, its a Netflix for Bible studies with videos for kids, students, singles, parents and married couples by teachers like Tim Keller and John Piper. All the content can be accessed from a phone, tablet, computer or television.
However, it includes a dedicated LifeGroup study section allowing a leader to simply choose a teaching series and press play!
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Let’s face it if your Life Group is not blessed with a great musician, songs of worship can be a little cringy. That is why, as well as notes, we create a worship playlist using YouTube on the LifeGroup’s Website. We try to choose videos with the lyrics of the song displayed so all the leader needs to do to have a time of worship is pop the playlist up on their TV screen or Laptop and again, press play! These songs are also usually songs we are singing during worship times on a Sunday so everyone is familiar with them which helps to avoid that awkward mumbling moment while everyone is trying to guess the words. Lastly on the same website, we suggest LifeGroup “icebreakers” to give our leaders ideas to encourage conversation in their groups, particularly if there are new people.
If you are in the process of thinking about what resources to offer to your LifeGroup leaders we recommend asking the following questions;
Resources are vital for LifeGroup leaders to feel empowered and equipped to do what they do best. With a clear purpose, your leaders will be able to use these tools regularly and easily to lead their group and themselves with confidence.