Vision for Growth Groups
Growing together in following Jesus
3 Growth Areas
Across our church we seek to cultivate 3 areas of faith growth.
- FAITH: follow Jesus and help others to follow
- CONNECTION: connecting people to help people
- BELONGING: belong and help others to belong
- SERVICE: serve and help others to serve
Did you notice the outward focus for each area? Healthy faith growth is good for you, and for others.
Growth Groups can support people to grow through regular meetings and activities.
The following set of studies, utilising the Discovery Bible Study (DBS) method, are designed for new Growth Groups. The 5 studies introduce the 3 growth areas for faith. They also help to set healthy expectations and practices for each group during its formative stage of life. Some groups may choose to use the DBS method beyond the initial 5 weeks. The studies in order are:
- Belonging: belong & help others belong
- Word & Prayer: deepen our relationship with God
- Faith: follow and help others follow Jesus
- Rhythm: develop healthy habits for faith and life.
- Service: serve & help others serve
The Discovery Bible Study Method
If you have a spiritual hunger and curiosity to not only know God, but to allow him to transform your life, and you want others to know him too, then Discovery Bible Study (DBS) might be a great tool for you to use. You can do DBS one-on-one and we encourage this. In most situations, however, it is best to start a DBS with two, three, or more, people – reaching a community, not just an individual. Jesus discipled people in groups, and it is the best way to learn. The group has the power of accountability and multiplication.
The ultimate focus is on allowing people to discover God’s Word for themselves. Through this process, we let people discover God’s story, the big picture and what it means for their lives.
Start by choosing a passage of Scripture that is simple, not too long and to the point. A story or narrative is good. The passages included below have been selected to emphasise each of the above mentioned 5 Faith Keys.
While Growth Groups have a designated Facilitator, anyone can facilitate this DBS process. If the facilitator of the discussion is doing most of the talking, they are talking too much! Stay centred on Scripture. If the group is veering off course, bring it back to the Bible by saying “Where do you see that in this passage?”
At each gathering:
Connect with one another and pray together, thanking God for what was good, and praying for what is needed.
- How have you experienced God in your life this week? What are you thankful for?
- What is difficult, bad, sinful or challenging in your life right now?
- What changed in your life because of last week’s story?
- Who did you get a chance to share with or bless?
- Pray, asking God to teach us as we read this passage. Read the passage together. Decide what is the best way for everyone to be involved in the reading. Ask someone in the group to restate the passage in their own words. Choose this person randomly and do not forewarn. This way, everyone will concentrate on the passage because they may be chosen to give the summary. Open discussion for others to add anything important the first person may have left out, or to add any other thoughts about the passage.
- What does the passage say? (Repeat it in your own words.)
Work through each verse or paragraph in the passage and explore what it says and what it means. Keep coming back to the passage – do not allow the group to drift off. Ask questions like: “Where does it say that in this passage?”
- What do you think the passage means?
- What do you learn about God?
- What do you learn about people?
Give people a few minutes (3 minutes is good) to consider how they will obey this passage.
Have everyone share their obedience (“I will”) statement.
- What do you need to do this week to obey what you have learned?
Talk about how we are going to share what we have learnt. Overcome any barriers that might stop each person sharing the good news with their family and friends. This weekly challenge ensures that sharing and multiplication are built into following Jesus.
- Who can we tell and how will we tell what we learnt today?
- Who can we serve or bless in the next week?
Facilitating a Growth Group
Create an atmosphere of acceptance
Help people grow in knowing one another. Begin with easy lead-in questions and affirm responses. Give people confidence to answer more challenging questions.
You don’t have to be an authority
In our Growth Groups, we are looking for facilitation and engagement, not Bible College Lecturers. We believe much of our best learning is done through discovery and community (sorry Bible College Lecturers). Growth groups are perfect for this mode of learning.
Help everyone engage
In groups there are talkers, there are listeners, introverts, extroverts, ambiverts. We hope everyone knows their contributions are vital and sought after. Here is your challenge, should you accept it, to cultivate a group where all voices can be heard.