Early Stages of Group Life

**For all stages of group life check here.


STAGE 1 - CG In Infancy: “This is all new!”

This is a group that has just formed and is brand new.

Temptation: “Let’s just do what I did at my old church.”

Focus: To build a core within the new CG and establish a healthy CG vision and culture. Regular rhythms are important to establish here.

Expectations and/or Frustrations:

• New things mean saying goodbye to old things, which is not
always easy.
• There will be three groups of people when trying to enact change (think of a bell curve distribution):
     (a) All-in — These are your potential leaders, excited about the vision. Draw near to these people.
     (b) Slow adaptors — There are people that are open to a new vision, but due to life/energy/busyness they need a little convincing. Spend time celebrating “wins” with these people.
     (c) Resistant to change — These people don’t want to change. The temptation is to win these people over to validate ourselves as leaders. We should love these people, but not lose sleep over convincing them to be all-in with the CG.

Main Objectives:

1. Establish the vision and culture
     • CG Leaders must set the tone and pace for the CG. If they want vulnerability, they must model vulnerability. If they want to be engaging neighbors, they must be doing the same thing.
     • Culture is established and reinforced by the questions we ask, the things we count, and what we celebrate.

2. Establish group rhythms
     • The group should brainstorm ways to establish meaningful
weekly and monthly rhythms. This can be accomplished by
walking through the Group Plan.


STAGE 2 - CG In Childhood: “This is fun!”

The group has established a core, a culture, and has bought into the vision. They’ve established good rhythms. People are energized and optimistic about making an impact and growing deeper together.

Temptation: “We can do this by our own strength!"

Focus: Focus on staying true to the rhythms established at the end of the previous stage. Groups should begin to grow wide (i.e., reaching those where they live, learn, work, and play.)

Expectations and/or Frustrations:

• These CG’s should be starting to fire on all cylinders in terms of discipleship, community, and mission.
• There will be people who still struggle with transparency in this phase.
• Participation out of normal CG time (i.e., social events, outreach opportunities) will likely be inconsistent as people still struggle to break from the standard view of a Bible study or Sunday School.
• CG should start to feel like a family.

Main Objectives:

1. Maintain CG rhythms.
     • Cynicism creeps in as we find excuses to let our rhythms lapse.

2. Welcome new people (as space allows).
     • Have a strategy for welcoming new guests (how we greet guests from within the church differs from how we greet unbelievers who are visiting.)

3. Create memories.
     • Plan special outings, throw birthday parties, take over-night trips together. You want people to say, “remember that time we...”


STAGE 3 - CG In Adolescence: “This is messy!”

People begin comfortably opening up about what’s really going on in their lives. At the same time newer people are still adjusting.

Temptation: “Let's just do what is easiest.”

Focus: CG Leaders need to keep the vision in front of the group and continue to find ways balance all the values of Community Groups (particularly the ones that don’t come as easy).

Expectations and/or Frustrations:

• Growing pains: At this point, organization and communication can become more difficult.
• Conflict: people are no longer on their best behavior.
• Apprentices: future leaders should already be identified at this point and are being given opportunities to be developed.

Main Objectives:

1. Review CG plan.
     • This is helpful to get new people caught up to speed on what to expect and it keeps the group accountable to what they committed to do as a group.

2. Identify and develop apprentices.
     • There should be at least one apprentice at this stage that is being poured into.

3. Encourage same-gender subgroups.
     • As people begin to grow as disciples and want to go deeper, consider groups within your CG to achieve this. This can look like guys & girls time during the CG meeting or launching a D-Group.