Why birth in the first place? Letâ€™s get real with each other â€“ why is it even important to birth? If our LIFE Group is consistently having life-changing experiences with Jesus, we have incredibly high vulnerability with each other â€“ why would we even want to jeopardize that by â€˜splitting upâ€™ the group?
Great questions that have great answers. Iâ€™m only going to unpack two here.
Groups that donâ€™t birth, stagnate. Something happens to a group that has great vulnerability but has no vision or plan for birthing. That group becomes extremely hard for new people to get in. And when that happens, you will have stagnation. The people start to take each other for granted. There is a tendency to get complacent.
All of a sudden that high vulnerability becomes a seedbed for complaints and gossip that is packaged in â€˜concernsâ€™ or â€˜confessionsâ€™ that has nothing to do with the individualâ€™s spiritual formation.
Groups that reach the lost will birth. If our groups are truly Engaging the world â€“ they are going to birth. Itâ€™s part of the Great Commission. We reproduce Christ followers. That means releasing them to do the same thing.
So, back to the topic at hand. Are we ready to birth another group? First of all this is a health question. It is NOT a length of existence or number of people question. If we have a LIFE Group that has been meeting for a year and we have tons of people showing up, that doesnâ€™t necessarily mean we are ready to birth. Having said that, if we have a life group that hasnâ€™t birthed in 2 to 3 years, we probably have some health problems in the LIFE Group.
The following questions are here to assess if our LIFE Group is ready to birth. Iâ€™ve tried to put the questions in order of importance, but a no at any one of these means â€œnot yet.â€
There are 7 key areas of evaluation.
We reproduce leaders, not groups. The life of Christ is reproduced in individuals, not groups of individuals. The Great Commission is about personally lifewalking with others, not a group.
This is the single most important question to answer. Do we have enough leaders for both LIFE Groups? Do we have a LIFE Group leader ready for each group? Do we have an intern for each group? Does each group have a host home/couple?
If the answers are yes for those questions, we might be ready to birth. At the very least we now have the bare bones of infrastructure to birth another LIFE Group. With out leaders, we are not going to birth another life group. That is destining our life groups for failure.
What is the vulnerability level of our group? Low, mid, high? If we have a high level of vulnerability â€“ we might be ready to birth. We donâ€™t want to reproduce anything less than high vulnerability because we know that it is in high vulnerability that transformation takes place.
There is another reason why the vulnerability must be at a high level. It will be next to impossible to talk about the birthing process without hurting somebody in a context that has less than high vulnerability. Without high vulnerability, people are not going to be able to dive into their feelings of insecurity or fear or dread of having to birth a group.
Where is your life group at in the Life Cycle? If we are only in the Show Up to Shed Skin phase â€“ we are DEFINITELY NOT ready to birth. If we are Sharing life and Shaping hearts, then we might be ready to birth.
We reproduce what we are â€“ not what we would like to be. So we need to birth groups who have experienced the full Life Cycle.
Has our group consistently experienced L I F E? That doesnâ€™t mean we do that every week â€“ although that might be true. What we are looking for is a consistent track record of L I F E. If our life group has a consistent track record in each of those areas, we might be ready to birth.
If we have positive answers for all of the questions above but itâ€™s only 3 other couples, itâ€™s time to open up our life group. Itâ€™s okay to have a small life group as long as we are reproducing leaders. When we have an intern ready to lead but no critical mass, each of you go find someone else to build into and reproduce.
Iâ€™m a firm believer that God speaks through community and there is such a thing as timing. Does every leader â€“ formal and informal â€“ around the table agree on the above answers? Do we all see the need to birth? What does our Coach think? Does anybody have a â€˜gut checkâ€™?
Do we have a (somewhat) clear plan of HOW to birth? If we do have a plan, we are probably ready to implement it. It takes time to birth. If everything is healthy and there are no â€œhiccups,â€ itâ€™s probably going to take around 3 months. The fewer green lights from the above list, the longer it is going to take.
If we rush in and try to birth with an unhealthy group, itâ€™s going to take even more time. Why? Because after the rush to birth, weâ€™ll have to do damage control which always takes longer than doing it right the first time.
Just remember that birthing is a process, not an event.
Weâ€™re close, but not quite ready
Good news for you! God has just gifted you with where to lead your life group over the next few months. Where we answered no, that is where we begin to lead.
Intern not ready? Get them ready. Get specific with him/her. Is there correction needed? Is it a heart issue or a skill issue?
Vulnerability level low in the group? Life Cycle issues? L I F E malnourishment? Whatever the issue, begin to lead the LIFE Group to health in those areas.