6 CHARACTERISTICS OF A GROUP BASED CHURCH
It is easy to confuse group based church life with traditional American small groups. However, there is a world of difference between the two. These 6 distinctions are what creates a true group based church within THE GROUP LIFE Network.
Matthew 28:19-20, ACTS 2:1-12
There is a clear focus on relation-based evangelism, recognizing that the purpose of the church is the draw all people to the love of the Father. Mission happens through groups reaching their sphere of influence (oikos), and inviting their sphere of influence to experience Christ’s presence and power in the group.
Group life is at the center of church life and ministry, not an auxiliary program or side arm of the church. Groups are seen as the full expression of the church, and Sunday gatherings are a celebration of the ministry taking place in the groups. Groups are seen as the front door to the movement of Jesus.
CENTRALITY OF CHRIST IN THE GROUP
Colossians 1:18, I Corinthians 14:24-25
There is a clear recognition that we are the body of Christ when we gather together, fully gifted and called to reach the world around us. With this, we submit ourselves to the spirit of Christ in our midst, and allow His power and presence to move through us. This is distinct from simply doing bible studies and discussing information.
MINISTRY HAPPENS IN & THROUGH THE GROUP
1Peter 4:10, 1 Corinthians 14:3
The focus of group life is to ministry to and through one another, experiencing and expressing the power and presence of Christ through prophesying. Prophesying is words of encouragement, comfort and strengthening from the Spirit of Christ. This is distinct from advice or personal wisdom. It is the anointed flow of Christ through the members of the body.
EVERY MEMBER IS EQUIPPED FOR MINISTRY
There is no elite ministry class in group based churches. Every member is seen as an integral and creative part of the body, with gifts to serve and equip the church. Every member is seen as part of the royal priesthood of Christ, connecting people to God. It is the job of the church to mentor and equip each member to fully express and live out their God-given mission.
If we are mission focused and group based, then rapid growth will be the result. Our objective is to grow wider, not taller. In other words, groups will multiply when they reach a certain number of members. This not only allows new group leaders to emerge, but supports the rapid multiplication of the church. Rather than creating more and more large group experiences, our goal is to create more and more groups that are equipping leaders for future expansion.