Highlights about the life cycle
The first two – Show up and Shed skin – almost always happen in that order. Those are the two key questions that every person MUST HAVE ANSWERED before they will choose to be vulnerable OR fit a LIFE Group in their schedule. People will not be vulnerable with people they don’t trust. They will not show up to things that aren’t worth the time.
The second two – share lives and shape hearts – are less sequential. A couple of people may decide that they want to hold each other accountable about a specific stumbling block issue. That would be share lives that hopefully would lead to a shaping of their hearts.
However, the reverse could just as easily happen. For example, a shared worship experience may have produced a profound insight for someone, who then shares that insight at LIFE Group. So he confides in his LIFE group a major decision he made in light of that experience. In that instance, the shaping of the heart came first then the sharing.
The result is the same – spiritual transformation. What moves a LIFE Group from one part of the cycle to the next?
Mark Edwards calls these moments “Thin Places.” These are moments where your LIFE Group sits at a crossroads that will either move them towards more vulnerability or less. These moments will move your group towards more intimacy of Christ or less. They can throttle your LIFE Group into the next cycle or stall it out.
Space should be created in your LIFE Group for them to happen – but they can’t be manipulated. They are Spirit driven. They can be spontaneous.
We don’t want to do anything that “quenches” the Spirit. We don’t want to manipulate a situation to get an emotional response. But we DO want to capitalize on moments that the Spirit brings to us by boldly following His lead. We DO want to create space for the Spirit to bring those Holy Moments to the surface.
As leaders we have to help others see these moments and anticipate them. This is part of the framing process. Examples are moments of vulnerability from Life Group members, a shared worship experience, or a crisis that explodes in your group.
A Map, Not A Destination
The Life Cycle is NOT the goal. A transformed leader is the goal. The Cycle is a map that tells you where you are at in the journey and what might be coming ahead.
Next Session: Life Group Covenant