Friday, October 3, 2008

Creating Community

Creating Community: 5 Keys to Building a Small Group Culture
by Andy Stanley and Bill Willits

The only numeric goal we have ever set for our ministry was in the area of small-group participation. Why? We really do believe that life change happens within the context of intentional relationships. And since our mission as a church centers on life change, we decided to lean the entire relationship in the direction of groups. P14

Groups don’t really impact a local church until they become part of a church’s culture. And that begins with senior leadership. P14

The kind of connections we need are more than casual. Casual connections aren’t life-giving. They can’t provide what Jesus dreams for and what He died for. They can’t provide the kind of oneness with God or oneness with each other that makes the world take notice. The kind that God uses in the hearts of people. The kind that transforms lives. Only the church in community can display that kind of relational oneness…That is what God has called the church to be about: creation environments where authentic community can take place. Building relational, transforming communities where people are experiencing oneness with God and oneness with one another. Communities that are so satisfying, so unique, and so compelling that they create thirst in the watching world. P45

Answering the question Where do you want people to go? allows you to clarify the “win” for your organization. Regrettably, many churches are not clear on what a win looks like for them, so they don’t know how to go about achieving the win. P72

Becoming crystal clear on what you are trying to do is critical for any group or organization. Without clarity an organization becomes pointless. Getting clear begins when we answer three important questions:
What do we want people to become?
What do we want them to do?
Where do we want them to go?
Answering these questions is vital for gaining clarity of mission and strategy. These are issues all leaders need to be clear on. Crystal clear. P78

Andy Stanley and Bill Willits answer the question: Why Groups at North Point?
1. Groups support our evangelism strategy
-our small-group approach supports, rather than competes with, our “invest and invite” evangelism strategy. We encourage our attendees to invest in the lives of unbelievers and then invite them to a relevant ministry environment.
-some want to belong before they are willing to believe
-people are naturally cared for best by those who know them best
-as we involve more people in leadership, this enables us to utilize a broader range of spiritual gifts

2. Groups enable more people to serve
-groups strategy has freed up adult attendees from choosing whether to serve on Sunday morning or attend a class

3. Groups help develop authentic community
-small groups are most effective place for people to experience authentic community
-home environment is more warm and inviting than sterile classroom setting

4. Groups offer maximum-flexibility
-groups can schedule around their own personal schedules
-flexibility of both when and where and they can rotate among homes

5. Groups allow us to be better stewards
-groups strategy requires fewer church-owned and maintained facilities which frees up money for other areas
-not spending millions on space that stays empty most of the week

6. Groups remove the primary limits to growth
-such as space and parking