At Calvary, we believe Life Groups offer a way to develop deeper connections to God and to others. In these groups, people will study God’s Word and discuss the issues and challenges of life. It’s also where people pray together, care for one another, and are missed if they don’t show up.
Life Groups are small groups comprised of five to ten individuals or four to six married couples that meet for connection, Bible study, prayer, friendship, and accountability. They are closed groups that commit to meet together for 12 to 18 months. We will offer Life Groups for married couples, men, and women.
How does Calvary define a Life Group?
Life Groups are small groups comprised of five to ten individuals or four to six married couples that meet for connection, Bible study, prayer, friendship, and accountability.
Why does Calvary offer groups?
We believe that significant life change takes place in the context of intentional relationships. Groups are the places where real life and real issues are discussed. This is the environment to celebrate the successes and good times of life, as well as comfort one another in the tough and disappointing times. It’s a place to be encouraged, equipped, and challenged to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ.
When do groups meet?
Each Life Group decides when and where it wants to meet. Most groups will meet two to four times a month. Individuals seeking to join a Life Group should identify groups that are meeting on a night or location that works for you. Most of our groups meet in group members’ homes.
How long does a Life Group last?
The group decides the duration of their group, which ranges anywhere from 12 to 18 months.
What is Calvary’s process for connecting people into groups?
The primary way we will connect people into groups is by advertising all our available groups twice a year, in February and August. Those looking to join a group register for a group that fits their location, night of the week preference, and group type preference, which are all outlined in the group descriptions. To launch our groups, Calvary will host the groups kick-off meeting at the church in a large group environment.
Are all first group meetings the same?
Most groups have their first group meeting at the church, with the goal being to set proper group expectations. We will host a one-hour event in a large group environment where members will come to meet their leader and other members who have joined their group. There is time set aside for individual groups leaders to facilitate relationship building and vision casting.
What about those who don’t get connected into a Life Group during the group connections seasons you have twice a year?
There are several steps that we offer for people in these situations. Our first step for them includes checking the website for any available openings, which are left online if a group does not fill during the initial enrollment. We also encourage people to join us on Wednesdays for Calvary Community nights. We are looking to form some more short-term groups and will provide information as those become available.
How do you promote open registration for groups?
We will primarily promote through our in-service announcements, videos, website, facebook group, and flyers.
What kinds of groups are available?
We have three types of groups available, married, mens and womens. In the future we may also occasionally offer topical focused short-term groups.
Does Calvary offer other group opportunities for people in special situations, such as divorced, widowed, or those with unbelieving spouses?
We will offer as many options as we can. Our Life groups will be organized in mens, womens and couples groups with spanish speaking options when possible. We will continue to have community groups that are typically formed around a shared characteristic such as life stage or interest as there is continued interest in them, such as OASIS.
How do groups choose curricula?
Our leaders will have access to resources for study suggestions and curriculum tracks. Leaders also have the option to work with church leadership and their group members to find a study that works best to meet the needs of their particular group. Our goal is that groups choose studies that promote growth in loving God, loving others, and bringing hope.
If a member drops out of a group, does that group add members?
During the first six months of the group’s life cycle, members can be added to fill the group. If the group is within their final six months, we recommend not adding new people.
What makes this group model unique from others, and what is the process for ensuring that groups stay “closed”?
Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of the model we have decided to use is the closed-group structure. We believe relationships take time to form and anything that gets in the way of the group building trust with one another works against this goal. Groups stay closed for a predetermined time of nine to eighteen months. After that time, the group will multiply to form at least two new groups, which will each separately take on new group members. If a group loses members along the way, they are free to add new couples or individuals if everyone in the group agrees.
Is the Life Group Agreement really necessary?
The Life Group Agreement is a tool used by group members to establish expectations and manage the group for its duration. Its use is essential because most problems that groups face arise due to unmet expectations.
Since groups don’t meet at the church, what do group members do about childcare?
Parents will arrange for their own childcare as needed. Group members may find it beneficial to coordinate arrangements with other members of their group. Some groups may be open for children to attend.
What is Calvary's process for enlisting new leaders?
Our primary means for identifying potential leaders will be through the recommendation from the pastoral staff or an existing leader. When a potential leader is identified, he or she must still be approved to lead by the Groups Director. The approval process for group leaders includes:
Completing a group leader application
Meeting with the Groups Director for an interview
Committing to ongoing development, beginning with Initial Leader Training before or shortly after starting the group
We also look to see if the potential leader exhibits the 4 leaders postures we ask of our staff and leaders:
How does Group multiplication work?
Group members will commit to a set amount of time with the same group. During that time, we encourage leaders to identify and equip co-leaders. Once the pre-determinded time commitment is fulfilled, the co-leader takes half of the group and starts a new group, while the original leader keeps the other half and recruits new members to form another new group.
Who do leaders contact if a problem or question arises that they can’t answer?
Group leaders will work with the Groups Director, Diana Rowan, who will help them walk through any challenges their group experiences.