- Building a Community



How to Build a LIFEdevelopment Community - by David Cox



1. Pray

  • For the spiritual energy necessary for a spiritual task. Building community means being involved in the heart of the Great Controversy - the great struggle between good and evil. The work of God is to reconcile people to Himself and to each other - to create oneness. The work of the enemy is reflected in his name, "the Devil," which means "the one who tears apart."

  • For direction at every stage of the process, and the ability to see people and what happens in their lives with the eyes and heart of Jesus.

  • In order to connect with the community of God. We cannot create spiritual community ourselves, but we can become part of God's kingdom community which already exists. We have to be living in community in order to extend the experience of community to others.

2. Develop your understanding of small group ministry

Don't stop with this brief introduction. Attend a LIFEdevelopment group and centre training event, read widely on the subject of small group ministry, surf the web, learn from others who are already doing what you want to do.

3. Start training

There should be a strategy at the local church to focus on the twin subjects of discipleship and community in preaching and teaching, with an emphasis on the values which undergird them. Training materials are available from local conferences in a variety of formats.

4. Develop a LIFEdevelopment strategy which incorporates small groups and/or LIFEdevelopment centres

This strategy should begin with where the church is at the moment, and end with where it wants to be. In between should be the various steps necessary to get from here to there, showing clearly the function of LIFEdevelopment groups and/or centres in the discipleship and community-building process.

5. Select leaders and form leadership teams

Teamwork is an important key in the LIFEdevelopment process. Both LIFEdevelopment centres and groups need a core group of committed members to make them work. LIFEdevelopment centre teams will vary according to the form that the centres take. LIFEdevelopment groups (small groups) start best with a core group of up to six or seven members, including a leadership team of three:

  • The leader: more a facilitator, shepherd, and delegator than a leader.
  • The apprentice leader: in training for when the group becomes two groups.
  • The host or hostess: the group usually meets in their home.

6. Set up a prototype

The purpose of prototyping is to work out the bugs in the implementation of a design before it is mass produced; to ensure that different elements of the design fit together in actual practice; and to discover unforeseen consequences in a new design or new way of doing things. Churches which plan to develop holistic small groups for the first time should start with no more than three groups, and form a prototype group with the three leadership teams (3 leadership teams of 3 = 9 people. This prototype group should meet weekly for at least three months before splitting up into three separate groups. LIFEdevelopment centers also need opportunity for practice and rehearsal (a shorter period than the LIFEdevelopment group) before friends are invited.

7. Start the LIFEdevelopment process

Even while the church is praying, studying, strategizing, and practicing with its prototypes, members should be out there making friends, connecting their new friends with other Adventist friends, organizing social events, using magazines, and doing everything possible to build a new interest base for the future stages of the process.





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2002 British Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists