Small groups have been around for many years at LPC, the time has come for us to reimagine and revitalize this important area of ministry. A Small Groups Team was developed in the early part of the year. One of the first decisions the group made was to rename the ministry “Life Groups” because that what they are: brothers and sisters who do life together. But, as what should be the purpose of this ministry? The same as the church—to make and develop disciples of Christ by reflecting Luke 10:27: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” The two greatest commandments highlight three areas that make a strong foundation to any church, small group, or individual Christian: spiritual growth, learning, and serving. Life Groups seemed to be a wonderful setting in which all of those things could happen.
The team met quite a few times over the summer and was made up of LPC members including Greg Rittenhouse, Becky Creech, Claudia Cunningham, Larry Bracey, Renee Lay, and Chuck Testas. We decided to use as our template the principles for small group ministry contained in the book, Small Groups with Purpose by Steve Gladen. Using the mission statement listed on the graphic above, we began to build momentum for the formation of Life Groups at LPC. The team made use of the normal channels of church communication (the newsletter, bulletin, announcements, drama, Facebook) to challenge people in the church to become part of a group.
After planning and advertising for several months, multiple life groups were formed in October to add to the existing small groups that had already been formed at LPC. They include groups are led by Gregg and Dawn Ridgely, Jeff and Sheryl Ridgely, Gary and Claudia Cunningham, Randy Fannin, Karen and Larry Kilpatrick, Roseanne Walker, and Renee Lay.
The Mission Statement of Life Groups is becoming more and more clear the longer the groups meet. In our willingness to gather with those we don’t know well (or at all) God is providing the members with more than they ever imagined. In just 3 months of meeting the groups are becoming a place where they are able to question & vent when necessary.