Starting a new CG
HOW WE LAUNCH COMMUNITY GROUPS
Community Groups are a vital aspect of the ministry of Del Rey Church. We simply cannot imagine our church without them. Our ultimate goal is that every believer at Del Rey Church would be in meaningful weekly community with the church in smaller groups. Simply put, coming on Sundays is not enough. We need to be together during the week in face-to-face fellowship, prayer, service and study. Our hope for our Community Groups is that they would be edifying forces for discipleship and missional encouragement within our church body. Because multiplication is a hope, we want to outline briefly our process for it. When someone says “I want to start a new community group” we show them this process. Likewise, when we spot someone who has leadership promise for leading a new group, we go over this process, hoping they will be prayerfully used by God to strengthen His church in this way. With that said, let’s go over the process.
1. We start with a healthy Community Group (CG)
Healthy things reproduce. That is our principle. So we start with a healthy CG and use it to birth a new CG. The environment of the CG is a great place for us to seek God as we discerningly watch and passionately pray for new leaders to be raised up, which brings us to the next point.
2. We identify proven members in this CG who can become a leadership team for a new CG
There are many things we look for in potential leaders. A basic and key requirement is that a potential leader is a formal member of the church in good standing (i.e. they are saved, love God, love people, serve regularly, give sacrificially and show up on time with a good attitude). Someone who has not taken the time to formally join the church or who doesn’t exhibit the fruits of a good member, should not be leading such a key ministry of the church. This is just common sense to us. Added, the membership class covers some key theological convictions of the church that we expect all CGs to uphold and passionately reinforce. In addition to membership, we want people who have basic Bible knowledge, proven character, good follow-through and be people who actually attract followers (leaders by definition have followers). Our CG leadership style is team based, which means we need more than one fired-up person to get things going. The fire has a starting place, but it must spread and that’s where the leadership team comes in to the process.
3. We prayerfully train the new leadership team
The leadership team ideally consists of a leader, apprentice leader, a host and a couple solid people committed to showing up on time. The leader is responsible for leading the group and training an apprentice, this builds multiplication into the DNA of the group. The host is the person whose home the CG will meet in. Sometimes the leader ends up being the host, but since leading and hosting take a good amount of time, we think it is best to separate them. With that said, sometimes it works better to join them. For example, if a leader has small kids, and the group meets at night so the kids need to be put in bed, and his wife is really good at hosting. Either way, if the host and leader are separate or the same person, we need at least 4-6 people to launch. Del Rey Church is unashamedly committed to the biblical teaching of make leadership, so we require the key leader of the CG to be a man, as well as the apprentice leader. Ideally, we would like for our key leaders to be (or become) Deacons in the church, because this biblical position closely parallels the ministry of the CG. With that said, we also require that the leadership team has at least one solid Christian woman to be a leader to the ladies who come. So, to borrow a phrase, we are looking for a few good men and women when we begin forming a team. When we get this core leadership team formed, we train them. One of our pastors goes over our training manual for Community Groups and gives the leaders a reading list of key books we want our leaders to read. We are training leaders to be spiritual facilitators, not teachers or formal leaders. The CG leadership team is a group of knowledgeable servants, ready to serve the body in the power of the Spirit according to the word of God and in submission to the Elders of the church. After or while going over the training manual, we employ the new leadership team within their current CG to lead. Our method begins with prayerfully watch for potential leaders in a CG because we trust the Spirit will raise them up. Then, we train them and after that we see if they can do it in their current CG before releasing them to launch a new one. The process is simple: we watch you, we train you, we watch you and then we prayerfully release you to lead on your own.
4. We identify a new location strategically placed for maximum impact
The dream of Del Rey Church is to be used by God to spark revival on the west side of Los Angeles. Currently, we see the embryonic stages of this as we have people who drive from all around the city to come worship on Lord’s Day. On Sundays the church gathers and during the week the church scatters. We are the church no matter where we are and our hope is to see this community grow through our scattering, which will be evident when we gather. We are praying to have CGs strategically placed in geographic hubs around the south west of Los Angeles. Ideally we will one day have groups in: Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Vista del Mar, Mar Vista, Santa Monica, Culver City, Westchester, Fox Hills, Ladera, Baldwin Hills, Windsor Hills, Inglewood, Hawthorne, El Segundo, Manhattan, Torrance, and Carson.
5. We pray and promote
We are laboring in vain unless God is in it. The health of the groups is a God-thing. We believe that—we really do! So we bathe our efforts in prayer and trust that God will move. Once the teamed is trained and proven and everyone has thoroughly committed the new group to the Lord in prayer, we then move to formally promote the new group on Sundays at Del Rey Church’s gathering. We set a launch date and invite people to come. Then we pray and watch what God does.
The goal of launching new CG’s is not to have more groups for the sake of having more groups. We want to see these groups strengthen the larger body and also serve outside the community by sharing Christ together with the lost. We want to see groups hosting outreach events like BBQs in their homes to reach out to friends who don’t know Christ and the love of His church. We want to see groups serving on mission, like volunteering for a soup kitchen or serving together on a short term missions team at Del Rey.
The above 5 steps are mission critical. If you are interested in being a part of a new CG, just start at step 1 and begin praying about it in your current CG. If you are not in a CG then get in one. If you cannot make it to one, talk to an elder about how we can work to build a new group for you to join. In such cases, we work with existing groups to see who can launch a new one on a time that will fit those who cannot make the times we currently offer. These steps are designed to be organic, so that healthy groups multiply and we see God’s hand in the whole process as He gives life and fruit to the process. If you have any questions, just ask an elder at church or your CG leader.
BLESSINGS TO YOU IN CHRIST JESUS!