The Way We "DO" Life Groups at First Baptist Enid
Description of Life Groups (LGs)
FBC Life Groups promote discipleship with people who are intentionally committed to each other and by God’s grace they will:
- Examine and apply the teachings of Godʼs Word to their lives
- Share geographically based & biblically centered relationships by doing life together
- Promote sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their communities.
Goal of Life Groups
The primary goal of Life Groups is to make disciples or followers of Jesus Christ (Mt 28:19-20). Life Groups promote discipleship by building biblical relationships through the teaching and application of Godʼs Word (Gospel Ministry) and out of which leads to encouraging one another to share the Gospel with others. By Godʼs grace and through the power of His Spirit and the application of His Word, Life Groups encourage and equip members to be disciples of Jesus Christ that have deep, genuine relationships with each other and who desire to make disciples of others by sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those around them.
How Life Groups Make Disciples
Life Groups promote discipleship through building biblical relationships and teaching & applying Gods Word, which, leads to sharing the Gospel.
Biblical Relationships (Doing Life) And they devoted themselves to…the fellowship - “sharing life together” - Acts 2:42
Life Groups live life together for the glory of God in particular localities and neighborhoods for growth in grace and the advancement of the Gospel. They are actively associated with one another on a regular basis, living out their daily lives with a special commitment to each other. They develop and sustain biblically centered relationships by sharing life together in such a way as to move beyond the superficial.
Genuine love for one another doesn't grow when we hide in the dark but when we walk together in the light (Acts 19:18; 1 John 1:5-10; Jas 5:16). Through formal discussion questions in a group setting or sincere questions one-on-one, we strive to spur one another along in the faith (Heb 3:12-13), weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice (Rom 12:15).
That also means Life Groups become a context for people to voice their needs, and then for others to pray and help meet those needs when voiced (Jas 2:14-17; 1 John 3:17-18). Whether through conversation, prayer, study or service, we seek to invest in each other's lives to fight sin, treasure Christ, and cultivate brotherly affection and service (Heb 10:24; Jas 1:22). Christian growth doesn't happen in isolation; it is a group project.
Teaching & Applying the Word (Word-centered) And they devoted themselves to the apostlesʼ teaching - Acts 2:42
Whenever they meet or when members share life together, Life Groups ﬁrst and foremost discuss and apply Godʼs Word to their lives. Through the prayerful study and application of Scripture, the members will strengthen their knowledge of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ as well as wrestle with how to live day by day in light of Scripture.
The focus is to challenge and encourage each other to grow in their relationship with God and live God-honoring lives in obedience to His Word in Scripture. The primary method for teaching and applying Gods Word week to week is to discuss the Sunday Sermon, focusing on understanding how to apply the message in Scripture to their lives. This helps Life Groups remain focused on what we are doing together as a Church, contributing to the unity of the Church as a whole.
The result will be to encourage each other to live changed lives. True and lasting change that glorifies God must stem from a heart motivated by God’s boundless love and grace as well as His awesome holiness and judgment. Both are announced in “the Gospel,” a message that doesn’t merely get people into the kingdom but serves their ongoing transformation for the kingdom. The Holy Spirit uses the gospel to save the church (1 Cor 15:1-2), enlighten the church (2 Cor 4:4-6), motivate the church (1 Cor 9:23; 2 Cor 9:13), unite the church (Phil 1:27), humble the church (Phil 2:1-8), protect the church (Gal 1:9-11), warn the church (2 Thess 1:8), embolden the church (Eph 6:15) and so forth.
Therefore, the goal in Life Groups isn’t merely behavior modification without the power of the cross. Rather, the goal is to admonish one another in the Gospel in such a way that by treasuring who God is for us in Jesus Christ, we are compelled to live in ways pleasing to Him.
Life Groups study of the Word may look different from time to time, but whatever the case, we seek to apply biblical truth in specific ways to our lives, so that we might be further conformed to the image of Christ.
Sharing the Gospel (Missional Living) Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word - Acts 8:4
The church is a community of people characterized by God’s mission to save the world (Matt 28:18-20; Acts 2:47; Rom 1:14). Our lives should demonstrate, on all fronts, a commitment to the ongoing march of the Gospel (1 Cor 9:19-23). Thus, making disciples through the teaching and applying Gods Word in biblical relationships should naturally lead to the desire to share the love of God and the Good News of Jesus Christ with others around them.
Life Groups provide a great context for accountability and partnership in the advancement of the Gospel wherever we live, work and play. They encourage and equip one another to have the conﬁdence to proclaim the Good News of salvation to unbelievers and unchurched in their communities. Life Groups have an outward focused orientation and therefore often meet together at local parks, invite neighbors to front-yard grill outs, target neighborhoods for outreach and pray for lost coworkers and friends.
Life Groups listen for specific needs of any neighbors living in close proximity to them, and then seek to do them good (Gal 6:10; 1 Thess 5:15). The goal is to enter people's lives, bear witness to the love of Jesus, give them a tangible expression of His love in the church and ask God to make more disciples through us.
First Baptist Enid Life Group Philosophy
Life Groups become lights and enclaves that live out the Gospel - Together in our city, projecting the light of the Gospel and the truth of God to neighbors, co-workers and neighborhoods.
How Life Groups Work (Methodology)
Life Groups are built around believers in Jesus Christ who are members of FBC Enid and who live in speciﬁc localities and neighborhoods. These members regularly gather together and invest their lives into each other in order to build deep, biblical relationships that promote the Gospel in each other as well as to encourage the sharing of the Gospel in their communities.
They live near each other, drop in on each other, work together, do chores together, help each other make wise decisions, take care of each other’s children and seek other ways to knit their lives together in regular association.
Life Groups are opening and welcoming to new members or visitors committed to becoming members of First Baptist Church. Life Groups may invite visitors to their groups, who live in their communities and are believers that desire membership at FBC Enid or seek to learn more about Life Groups. This allows the visitor to see into the life of the Church and be encouraged. Life Groups seek to make clear to visitors that consistent participation in a Life Group is a regular part of being a member of FBC and the hope is that all that attended would commit to pursuing church membership.
Life Groups regularly gather at a speciﬁc time and place to discuss the Sunday sermon, primarily to apply the message of Scripture to their daily lives and the life of the group. They encourage transparency with each other through the thoughtful application of Godʼs word to their lives. Life Groups deliberately focus on the sermon in order to promote the unity of the entire church and to avoid groups from becoming “little churches.” They are committed to the church as a whole and not just to the group.
Life Groups can use various creative ways to unpack the sermon and make it practical, such as pre-arranged testimonies, interviews, historical biographies, drama or even games. Such creative ways will help people remember Godʼs Word while simultaneously developing real friendships that are based on mutual trust and affection.
Life Groups can plan for speciﬁc events like game nights, service activities, outreach meetings, dinners and other activities together that will focus their attention on people in that group and build their own schedules around the life of the group. They should plan for ministry opportunities together, especially to share the Gospel in their communities and workplaces, reach out to homebound FBC Enid members, reach out to visitors to FBC in their communities, host outreach activities throughout the year for non-Christians to see the love of God displayed and the body of Christ at work.
Life Groups have an evangelistic mindset that encourages each other through prayer and partnership to share the Gospel with others in the community. They strategize together and encourage one another to share the Gospel with others. They speciﬁcally pray for individuals and groups with whom they are sharing the Gospel, such as family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances. They plan opportunities in their communities to share the Gospel with their neighbors.
Life Group Leaders
Life Group leaders are developed, trained, and encouraged under the mentorship of the Pastors and other Life Group leaders. The Discipleship Pastor will be the primary overseer of group leaders and leaders are encouraged to go to him for any needs. When the Pastors & Leadership Team or a LG leader identify someone with the potential to lead a group, that person will come under the mentorship of another LG leader or a Pastor and given the opportunity to share in the leadership of group. When the Leadership agrees that the potential group leader is capable and prepared to lead a group, he is asked to partner with others in their community to lead a Life Group. Periodically, all the group leaders will gather together to share about their groups and discuss and encourage leadership of the groups.
Multiplying Life Groups Life Groups are formed with the heart to grow and with the view to plant new Life Groups. This is a difﬁcult task. As groups build deep relationships, most will be reluctant to leave the group and form new groups. But as Life Groups share life together and develop deep relationships, keeping the Word of God central to their relationships, these groups will continue to grow until they are too large to be practical.
Too large is often a measure of the home or location where the group regularly meets. One group may be 5 families or less with children. Another group may be 10 people meeting in an apartment. A third group may be 20 or more regularly meeting in a larger location.
As the First Baptist Enid family grows, we will have clusters of members from different pockets or neighborhoods. Members may begin as part of one group. As that group grows, a cluster of members from one neighborhood may decide or the Pastors and Life Group leaders may ask, that cluster to form a separate group in their neighborhood. The Pastors will identify a group leader and the cluster of neighborhood members will then plant a new Life Group in their neighborhood. This is a biblical model of spreading the Gospel into the world.
Therefore, Life Groups should plan for and look forward to identifying potential neighborhoods into which they can plant a Gospel witness. They should seek to encourage group leaders and others in the group, who can go and make disciples in other communities by planting new Life Groups. And they should rejoice with the knowledge that as their group grows, God is providing the opportunity for them to share the Gospel in other communities by partnering together to plant new groups in order to share the light of Christ in that part of the world. And as groups multiply, they may partner together to encourage one another and promote sharing the Gospel together.
Life Groups are Not… Life Groups are not merely events that we attend; they are doing life together, building authentic relationships around Godʼs Word. Life Groups are not only social groups to make friends and have fun together; they apply the word of God to each other by speaking the truth of God in love to one another and endeavoring to share the Gospel with others. Life Groups are not theological institutions for people to display their knowledge; they are biblical relationships for sinners to wrestle with the application of Scripture by living out their lives together.
Life Groups are not performance-oriented events; they are daily relationships built around living out the Gospel together and partnering to share the Gospel with others in their community.
First Baptist Enid Life Groups
First Baptist Enid Life Groups seek to make disciples and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in speciﬁc geographic areas by sharing life together in deep relationships, devoting themselves to teaching one another and applying to one another the truths of Godʼs Word that leads to partnering together to share the Gospel with others in order to make disciples. By the grace of God, under the power of His Holy Spirit and rooted in the Word of God, pray that First Baptist Enid Life Groups glorify God and make His name known in our communities.