Life Teams ought to be gospel communities. Here’s a great passage from Everyday Church by Chester and Timmis which contrasts gospel communities with traditional small groups.

Gospel communities are not like house groups, Bible study groups, pastoral groups, or ministry teams. House groups obviously vary hugely, and yours may function very much like a gospel community, but let us paint the contrast in black and white to highlight the change in the culture that is required.

House groups tend to be a weekly meeting. People talk about “house group night”— the evening in which they “do” house group by attending a meeting. A gospel community is a network of relationships that will probably have a regular meeting, but they are sharing life throughout the week.

House groups are often centered on a Bible study. In a gospel community the Bible is central, but the Bible is read, discussed, and lived throughout the week in the context of a shared life as well as through Bible studies.

House groups are often insular and focused on the mutual care of its members. Pastoral care is a feature of gospel communities, but gospel communities are groups with a strong sense of mission. They can articulate their vision for mission and identify the specific people they are trying to reach.

House groups are normally managed centrally by the church leadership, and leaders can be fearful of house groups becoming independent. Gospel communities have a mandate to reproduce organically.

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