A Growth Group is a weekly one-hour meeting of 2 or 3 people of the same gender designed to facilitate the exponential growth of the gospel.
The Bible describes the Good News about Jesus and his kingdom as being seed (Matt. 13:1-23; Mark 4:1-20; Luke 8:1-15; 1 Pet. 1:23). Just like a seed it is very small but it also contains unlimited life-giving potential.
For that potential to be realized, the seed has to take root in the hearts of people. That is, they have to hear, accept the message, and hold on to it through faith. For this reason, Growth Group members agree together upon a significant portion of scripture (25-30 chapters are recommended) which they will read as individuals through the week. Upon coming back together, they check in to see if the reading was finished. If so, they move on to another 25-30 chapters. If anyone did not finish, the entire group must re-read the original passage until everyone has completed the reading. This system provides both accountability to read and the opportunity for repetition over the assigned passages.
But it’s not enough for people to hear and understand the message. Like a good farmer, God wants the seed of the Good News to bear fruit through renewed lives and relationships (John 15:5-8; 16-17). A person who hears the message but doesn’t experience a noticeable and ongoing change in his behavior is like an apple tree that never produces apples. Growth Groups encourage conformity to Christ’s character (Rom. 8:29) by providing mutual accountability. Every week, members confess their sins to each other (James 5:16, 1 Jn. 1:8-10) and renew their commitment to obey Jesus as he leads them by the Holy Spirit and through message of the kingdom which they encounter in the pages of the Bible.
Trees that bear fruit bless the farmer, but fruit also has another purpose—to grow the seed into an abundant crop. Growth Groups are ultimately about the growth of the Good News within and between societies through the multiplication of healthy Christ followers. In order to achieve this goal, members of Growth Groups seek to share their faith and pray for the lost throughout the week. New disciples can be brought into the group or a new group can be started between the new disciple and the one who led him or her to faith.
Not only should the members of the group look to multiply themselves through evangelism, the group itself should expect to multiply. Once the Growth Group consists of 4 consistent members, it should split into 2 groups of 2. This system encourages the exponential growth of the gospel while retaining the health of each disciple as he or she lives in mutually accountable community.
Counting the cost:
Are you desperate for Jesus?
Will you commit to this process?
Adapted from Life Transformation Groups by Neil Cole © 1999
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