Mission Church exists to help people find and follow Christ.
As group leaders, we head up a very specific piece of that goal. The primary aim of a Mission Group is to create the playing field for that growth in people’s lives.
We create and foster significant relationships, because we know that it’s in those relationships that we get to be a part of the growth that happens in people’s lives.
Honestly, this is hard! Relationships are complex, challenging, different every time, and always changing - we all know and experience that. Every relationship develops differently - when you compound all those on a group level, it is a moving target!
No matter how quickly or smoothly, every group of people goes through four general stages of relationship development.
Ground rules about the 4 stages
- You can never skip a step.
- Every group of people moves through these stages. Some move more quickly or smoothly through them, but you can always expect them!
- You can’t force it.
- And that's why our goal is to create conducive environments for these relationships to grow - it's not our responsibility to magically create great relationships or trick people into them.
- Community takes chemistry.
- The bond of common faith is great, but it doesn’t take us the distance with each other. That chemistry doesn’t have to be complete alikeness, but deep and lasting relationships always take chemistry and affinity of some kind.
- Outside factors sometimes have the strongest influence.
- Time and tragedy are some of the biggest motivators. Time of year and season of life play a part too. Take into account everything that might be affecting the relationships in your group!
PUBLIC | “acquaintance”
- everyone starts here
- new groups, new people in existing groups
- lack of known chemistry or affinity
SOCIAL | “friendship”
- characterized best by self-description
- easy to talk about concepts, abstract ideas, concrete answers to questions, etc.
- we start to have fun together at organized events
PERSONAL | “trust and openness”
- moves from self-description to self-disclosure
- this is a huge win at a group level; it takes time and a BIG move to get here
- “people’s” struggles and challenges become “my” struggles and challenges
- time and fun together can become less structured or event-based
PRIVATE | “authenticity and accountability”
- usually happens in select relationships within a group, and not normally during a group experience
- these relationships don’t commonly happen without a "playing field" - which is the consistent group experience
- characterized by HIGH intentionality, lots of structure and effort - all the while feeling very natural and organic
questions to ask yourself
- Where is your group now?
Is it where you expected it to be? Is the process moving faster or slower than you expected?
- For existing groups, can you recall times when your group felt stuck at “Public” or “Social”?
How did you stay positive and consistent during those times?
What factors have you seen hinder or accelerate the process of growth in your group relationships? How can you be intentional in helping accelerate this process?
What steps would help your group move forward this session?