Community Group Starter Kit: Our Strategy

Previously, we have discussed the WHY (Our Commission), the WHAT (Our Example) , and the WHERE (Our Vision) of Community Groups.

At The Chapel, we define our Community Groups as life-changing communities where you can belong, believe, and become. This statement doesn’t just function as our definition, but as our strategy.

  • Belong: Provide a place where you can meet Jesus in a group where you are welcomed and accepted.
  • Believe: Provide a place where you can know Jesus through His Word and His people.
  • Become: Provide a place where you can follow Jesus as you become who God designed you to be.

The three B’s are placed in an intentional progressive order. Today, as more people are looking for a safe, non-judgmental place where they can investigate their faith, belonging precedes belief and belief precedes becoming. Secondly, the statement mirrors our mission statement: To Help People Meet, Know, and Follow Jesus. Each “B” focuses on providing the environment that will help bring about a specific aspect of their relationship with Jesus. Below we unpack each one of these.

Continue reading “Community Group Starter Kit: Our Strategy”

Community Group Starter Kit: Our Vision

In the previous posts, we have discussed the WHY and WHAT behind our Community Groups. Before we get into the specifics of hosting a group and the strategy, let’s first look at the vision for our Community Groups. What are we hoping God will do through our groups over the next decade?

At The Chapel, we have a 10-year GroupLife vision where we are praying and planning for a D-group in Every Community Group and A Community Group in Every Neighborhood. Below is a map that illustrates this statement.

We have identified 71 neighborhoods across Baton Rouge that we want to see a Chapel Community Group in. Check out more details about this vision and our current progress here.

This is a bold vision that is driven by the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations. We will reach our city and help people meet Jesus through saturating the city of Baton Rouge with Community Groups that provide a welcoming environment for all people to join. Additionally, as these people meet Jesus in Community Groups, we want to help them know and follow Jesus in the context of D-Groups. As our neighbors, coworkers, and classmates meet, know, and follow Jesus, we will send out laborers to the campus, the city, and the world. 

Continue reading “Community Group Starter Kit: Our Vision”

Should You Have That Hard Conversation? Two Questions To Help You Decide

Your friend has made some decisions that is putting a strain on your friendship. Your spouse continually cuts you down in public and you can feel the bitterness growing. Your child is continuing to act out and you want to get to the heart of the issue. A co-worker or employee is not carrying his weight and you need to have a hard conversation. Whether with a friend, a spouse, a child, or a co-worker, conflict is inevitable.

When dealing with conflict, our approach embodies one of two people: the Truth Teller or the Peacemaker. Often an individual has a tendency towards one of these two, but depending on the day, the person, or the situation, he may change his approach. When healthy, both of these individuals are driven by Godly motivation, but when unhealthy, both of these individuals are driven out of a selfish motivation. One of the most important things we can do as we enter conflict is to inspect our hearts and assure that our motivation is in the right place. Here are two questions that will help.

Continue reading “Should You Have That Hard Conversation? Two Questions To Help You Decide”

Community Group Starter Kit: Our Example

In a previous post, we discussed how the Great Commission is not a task given to isolated individuals, but an identity given to a community. It doesn’t take long before you see Early Church embrace Jesus’ commission. In Acts 2, we see the first snapshot of the Great Commission lived out. We also see the example that The Chapel’s Community Group’s follow. If the Great Commission is the WHY behind Community Groups, Acts 2 explains WHAT a Community Group is.

In Acts 2:42-47, it highlights three things the Early Church committed to doing and two types of impact that it had.

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47

Continue reading “Community Group Starter Kit: Our Example”

The Perfect Community Group And What To Do When You Don’t Find It

The “perfect” Community Group looks different for each person, but below is what it looks like for me:

(If you rushed for time or just don’t care what my version of a perfect Community Group is, there is no shame in skipping this section. You can just look at the candid shot I took from my perfect Community Group below and then skip to “Why You Will Never Find The Perfect Community Group”)

This is not my Community Group…Stock Small Group pictures are the worst!

The group would meet in my neighborhood within walking distance. As our family walked down the road, we would drop our kids off with a great babysitter who would have a kid’s version of our group lesson prepared. We would then walk down the street two more houses to where the adults would meet. There we would have dinner and fellowship. Once we finished, we would jump into discussion that would be led each week by a different person who was a wellspring of wisdom and knowledge, but was able to make the application simple and practical. The discussion would find the perfect balance between serious and light-hearted; it would include tears of joy, sadness, and laughter. It would be relatable for people at all places in their spiritual walk, there would be no awkward pauses and every person’s comments would resonate with someone. After an amazing discussion, the group would then share personal and specific prayer requests that were transparent and meaningful. We would also pray for those in our life who did not know Jesus and could benefit from a group like ours. As the meeting time finished, the group would linger because everyone wanted to spend more time with one another.

Continue reading “The Perfect Community Group And What To Do When You Don’t Find It”

Community Group Starter Kit: Our Commission

Currently, our team is in the middle of building a new resource called the Community Group Starter Kit. Over the next few weeks, I will share posts influenced by this kit, but intended not just for The Chapel, but for whomever is interested in learning more about Community Groups. The posts will go over the WHY, WHAT, HOW, WHEN, WHO, and WHERE of Community Groups. Today, we start with the WHY: Our Commission.

The Communal Commission

As a Westerner, one of the most common mistakes in interpreting the Bible is to read passages individualistically. This happens often with the Great Commission. We hear Jesus’ charge to make disciples of all nations and we feel the weight of that responsibility solely on our shoulders.

This is where a Southerner’s Bible translation would be helpful, because the Great Commission would be read like this…”Therefore, [y’all] go and make disciples of all nations…” When we consider that all the gospel-commission passages (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20, Acts 1) were given to a group of people and when we look at 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Peter 4, we realize that the Great Commission is not given to an individual, but to a community. Michael Goohen says it well, “The Great Commission…is not a task given to isolated individuals, but an identity given to a community.”

We realize that the call to make disciples of all nations is something given to the church collectively and the only way that we will accomplish it is three-fold: by doing it together, by each person having a role, and by every person playing that role.

We understand the idea that a community influences an individual, because if we were to write down those that have impacted our life spiritually it would be a list of people, not just one person. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a church to raise a disciple.

Continue reading “Community Group Starter Kit: Our Commission”

6 Reasons Why I Love This D-Group Model

Over the last two years, our church has started doing Discipleship Groups (D-Groups). This is a gender specific, closed, group of 3-5 people who gather for a season of accelerated spiritual transformation (see a quick explanation here). Through my ten years of attending similar groups, this is by far the best model that I have ever been a part of. Below are six reasons why I love this model and how it has impacted my walk with Christ!

Continue reading “6 Reasons Why I Love This D-Group Model”

Discipleship Group Explained In One Picture

If you asked ten churches how they do discipleship groups, you would get ten different answers. Everyone does it differently. Some emphasize theology while others emphasize spiritual disciplines. Some churches include heavy homework (reading, memorizing, etc.) and others are more relaxed.

We have learned a lot from the Replicate Ministries model of Discipleship Groups (D-Groups). These are gender-specific, closed groups of 3-5 people that meet for 12-18 months for a season of accelerated spiritual transformation. Below is a picture that our Next Steps Team developed that explains how this group works.

Continue reading “Discipleship Group Explained In One Picture”

3 Key Guidelines To Successfully Following Up With Guests

Over the last seven years, one of the most important responsibilities I have had is helping people move from attending our service to becoming faithful members of our church. As I have developed a Guest Follow Up system for our church, I have tried a lot of different approaches. Many of these approaches have not been my best ideas, but thankfully, a midst many underwhelming solutions, there have been three principles that I have discovered along the way that have greatly improved how we follow up with guests.

Continue reading “3 Key Guidelines To Successfully Following Up With Guests”

3 Reasons That Life Change Happens Best In Circles, Not Rows

If you spend any time on our church website or social media you will see a common phrase: “Life change happens best in circles, not rows.” This is a catchy saying that speaks to how God has designed us to live in community with fellow believers. As someone who spent the first eighteen years of his life not attending a group and the last decade spending nearly every week in one, I can truly attest to how special biblical community really is. Despite being in many different types of Community Groups (co-ed, men-only, college, young adult, multi-generational, married with kids) I have seen each group include three unique moments.

Continue reading “3 Reasons That Life Change Happens Best In Circles, Not Rows”