One of the things I hear about our move to a simple church is, “Oh, y’all are doing Life groups.” This view is a common misunderstanding among church folks. So, what’s the difference between a Life group and a simple church/DMM? Generally speaking, Life groups are more social than spiritual. Life Groups meet less frequently, i.e., once a month. Life groups do not incorporate many of the elements present in a healthy church gathering (see Acts 2:42-47.) This observation isn’t a criticism of Life groups, but there is a vast difference between Life groups and Simple church/DMM.
Here are a few of the similarities and differences:
1. We eat together (fellowship) – This is part of Life groups—food, fun, and fellowship.
2. We worship together (live worship) – Life groups do not generally worship together.
3. We pray with and for one another – Life groups incorporate prayer for one another.
4. We read scripture together and discover Jesus together – although scripture reading is present in Life groups, it is most likely presented from a curriculum or the Pastor’s sermon. We seek to read scripture interactively to discover Jesus as the Holy Spirit leads us. The Holy Spirit will reveal the truth to all believers. We want to be obedient followers of Jesus, not just gatherers of information.
5. We take communion weekly. Life groups may occasionally take communion, but it is not common.
6. We meet the needs presented by the group. We want to be aware of the various needs in our community. We ask folks to share their need and allow our community to meet them if possible. This allows the body of Christ to generously serve one another in a real, meaningful way.
7. We hold one another accountable to the commands of Jesus.
8. Kids are present for fellowship, worship, and prayer and will receive age-appropriate discipleship led by the community. We model what a community of Jesus followers looks like for our kids.
9. A simple church is a church in the biblical sense of the word. Life groups are an extension of the ministry of a local church.
10. A Simple church aims to see disciples and churches multiplied. Many Life groups never grow or reproduce.
We desire to build a culture of ministering to and pouring into other believers as the Holy Spirit leads us. This expression of the church results in a healthier, Spirit-filled life that equips and empowers the body of Christ to makes disciples and advance the Kingdom of God.
A simple and healthy church consists of several elements identified in Acts 2:36-42:
1. As a result of the Gospel preached, people repented of their sins and were baptized in the name of Jesus, and were filled with the Holy Spirit.
2. These new believers devoted themselves to the word of God, prayer, the breaking of bread (sharing their meals, including communion), and fellowship.
3. These believers were unified around Jesus and generously met the needs of those around them.
4. Daily, they met from house to house with sincere, glad, and humble hearts.
5. This results in goodwill among all the people, and the Lord added to the number daily.
6. This Simple Church format was/is the primary vehicle to disciple men, women, and children. The Simple Church format forms Christ in the believers by allowing them to encounter Jesus in a meaningful, interactive setting that empowers them to go and do the ministry’s work.
Simple Church Format:
1. Share a meal, AKA fellowship.
2. Care for one another - pray for one another’s needs. Meet any financial, spiritual, emotional, or relational needs that are presented.
3. Loving Accountability – Hold one another accountable in spiritual growth and community engagement.
4. Worship – Corporate worship.
5. Vision - Pray for those far from God and cast a biblical vision for disciple-making and a simple church.
6. New Lesson/Message from the Bible - Use DBS format. (These lessons can cover several important topics, i.e., 16 Fundamental Truths, Spirit-Filled Life, Christianity 101, etc.)
7. Practice a skill - i.e., 3 Circles, 15 Second Testimony.
8. Pray and Go
If this resonates with you, we would love to hear from you. Join us as we seek to become obedient followers of Jesus, that multiply disciples and churches.