In this group, we may be doing follow-up with new Christians, and introducing Christians new to Power to Change to our ministry philosophy and materials. We cover core issues such as assurance of salvation, being filled with the Holy Spirit, walking in the power of the Spirit, witnessing and helping fulfil the Great Commission. Core Groups should be “open” and relational. The commitment required is not as high as in other levels but builds as the community develops. Some one-on-one (individual times) will have occurred during this group, but usually, no ongoing commitment to meet weekly has been established.
A Core Group allows the members to know Power to Change and see how we operate. It also allows students to get some good Bible study, to check out their leaders before they commit to being discipled by them , and an opportunity where they can then be invited to other momentum campus events (weekly meeting, camps). This will hopefully lead to the student staying involved, growing and eventually moving into leadership with us, pastoral care, real sharing., and an entry point to Power to Change activities. Most students’ initial contact with Power to Change is through being invited to a small group Bible study. This is particularly the case where Power to Change groups meet at night-time for the weekly meeting or where there is no common lunch-hour.
Core Groups also allow leaders
1) To begin meeting group members individually to ensure that students are practising the
2) To observe a student over time to determine FAT (faithful, available, teachable) and to determine if they wish to continue to meet with the individual
3) Opportunities to in lead! As students lead they learn so much about not just the foundational material but then become really teachable about discipleship. Their leading creates an opportunity for real life-changing input to occur in their lives.
Joining a Training For Ministry Group
After students have completed a Core Group they may be invited or want to join one of our training groups. These explore the current implications of the Great Commission - revisiting evangelism, discipleship and leadership issues to help develop future multiplying disciples. It is assumed students will be experimenting in ministry and developing a heart for the Great Commission. The time frame of this group is open-ended; students will not automatically move through to the next level until they are ready.
Most of these students will be meeting individually with a leader. However, the time frame of this meeting is not open-ended. The discerning period of who actually is or will be committed to the Great Commission focusing on their local campus is still in process. We are still discerning who is F.A.T. and students are still decided if they are F.A.T. and if they want to minister with us.
Some of the questions being resolved in level 2 groups are:
- Availability i.e. can they juggle involvement with their study, relationships, local church or part-time job?
- Will they be faithful in ministry – turning up to meet with non-Christians in C.E.’s, faithful in prayer and able to persevere through the good and the not so good times.
- Are they teachable? Do they really want to apply the Great Commission in a radical way – thus deciding if they’ll go on projects or come to conferences to get training?
- Will the leader and group member actually develop a working relationship? Eg can the leader give encouragement and feedback in a way that meets the real needs of the member and will the member hear it.
- What level of emotional baggage does the member carry and are they able to work this through so that they can be involved in winning, building and sending on their campus?
- Is the student prepared to work interdenominationally or will some theological preoccupation (the list is too vast to even name some) result in them not being satisfied with the group. Some of the characteristics of level two groups are:
Students must have completed the level 1 group before proceeding here.
- It is a closed group.
- It is usually a single-sex group.
- Students are beginning ministry – sharing their faith, leading Christianity Explained, starting to take on roles within the overall group (eg in weekly meeting, in planning outreaches), doing some follow-up.
- Members are mostly being met one-on-one by leaders.
- A clear purpose of the group is presented to the group members and all know that they are in the group to grow in their relationship with God and respond to the Great Commission.
- Members are becoming involved with the wider Power to Change group, not just their small group.
- It is expected that several principles/concepts be the main focus of the group. These include evangelism, multiplication and spiritual leadership.
- Group members would be getting training in and endeavouring to practice the truths in Power to Change’s training modules. Some of this training and it’s implementation would hopefully have occurred in the Core Group while perhaps some of it would not be covered until the person is one of your leadership team (Level 3 group). Core Training should only be taken as it is needed i.e. when it will be implemented.
- Issues relevant to focusing on campus and FAT are being identified and worked on.
- The community is further down the track than in level 1 groups (due to time together but also shared purpose and vision).
Becoming a Part of the Leadership Team
At some point, students cross over from being trainees (stage 4) and become “leaders in the movement”.
As leaders they:
- Have a relationship/maturity with Jesus that qualifies them for leadership.
- Know how they want to be involved with Power to Change in fulfilling the Great Commission.
- They are taking others with them on their journey.
- When these three things are taking place our commitment must change also. The more students invest in the Great Commission the more we need to invest in them.
- Is there such a thing as a separate level three group that is developing on campus? Sometimes level three groups develop but other times this is not the case. These groups can be comprised of the staff team and/or junior staff plus a few key senior students, and/or a bunch of senior students.
- Sometimes, groups are made up of level 2 members and also level 3 members. Why?
- Because some people develop quicker than others but have relational ties within the group. It would be unwise to split these ties. Certainly though, at the beginning of each year, there is an opportunity to remix some of the groups. A decision to change groups could be made because it is wise (a third level member really needs the encouragement of other 3 level members rather than continuing for another year with people who may not be moving in this direction) or feasible/practical (timetable issues).
- The ministry is not mature (large) enough to have distinct groups.
- The numbers of students means combined groups are necessary. When a ministry has combined level 2 and 3 groups, then it is recommended that another forum be established where the level 3 students interact together. These students have specific needs and also need access to the full-time workers on the campus. Perhaps this will be “a leaders meeting” which is held monthly, fortnightly or irregularly. These people still need to be casting a vision, will need care from leadership and peers to handle the issues that they face in life, as well as specific skills in order to lead their group. The cell group model often calls this the VHS (Vision, Handle, Skills). This group may be a male leaders ministry group, a female leaders ministry group or a mixed leadership group. It can comprise 4 – 100 leaders. How the group works out is usually dictated by practicalities (ie who can meet when) as opposed to any principles.
Certainly, it is very important that the group learns how to use scripture well. To this end, some inductive Bible studies are very helpful.
Some principles to bear in mind
As we decide on content in our groups and in the individual times we need to bear in mind the following principles:
- Students (and leaders) need to hear the same principles multiple times before they understand the concepts. So sometimes even though the material has been covered in Core Groups, they will again need to be covered the next year or in the third level group.
- It is not until students are putting things into practice in their lives and in their ministry that we can be confident that they have understood the principles.
- Having students teach the principles to other students solidifies the principles in their minds and is more likely to lead to application in their lives.
- What we cover in our groups will generally be what our students will cover with others. So we need to ensure that our content is reasonably transferable.
Some Final Thoughts
It is obvious that leading groups at all levels is both simple and complicated. As leaders, we have to juggle principles as well as what is able to work on a campus. We have to juggle student and campus idiosyncrasies. We have to juggle strategising as well as joys and disappointments as people grow and develop or make choices otherwise. There is the need to hang in there for a while to allow the Timothy’s to be developed. But as we trust God and lead in the power of the Holy Spirit, we have to remember that we are on God’s journey, seeking to implement his purposes for the world and our campus and that it is God who makes things grow.
- What are the keys to our ministry growing and developing?
- Understand that multiplication ministry is a process;
- Building a community of authentic relationships;
- Paying attention to the needs of each individual;
- Dependence on the Holy Spirit;
- Commitment to seeing lives changed;
A clear and compelling vision that is cast repeatedly. As we look at key activities that our ministry undertakes, what are some key characteristics of these activities in Power to Change’s ministry?
1. Individual times:
- We only have limited resources for meeting with individual students;
- We need to limit ourselves mainly to only meeting the “right” students;
- The “right” students are:
- a) Non-Christians... for sharing the gospel;
- b) New Christians... for follow-up;
- c) Christians new to Power to Change... to introduce them to our ministry philosophy and basic materials;
- d) Christians committed to the Great Commission.
Disciples are made not born and no doubt this is where some of the tensions arise as to who we should actually be meeting. Perhaps it is that we meet with people who want to and are able to focus with Power to Change in fulfilling the Great Commission. Over time when we discern that someone is not able to focus with Power to Change and who is not FAT, then we should in most cases not be meeting with them.)
- 2. Small Groups
- Our introductory group covers core issues such as assurance of salvation, being filled with the Holy Spirit, walking in the power of the Spirit, witnessing and helping fulfil the Great Commission;
- This 1st level group is “open” and relational. The commitment required is low, but builds as the community develops;
- Our intermediate group explores the current implications of the Great Commission - revisiting evangelism, discipleship and leadership issues in a way to help develop future multiplying disciples;
- This 2nd level group is “chosen” or selected. It is assumed students will be experimenting in ministry and developing a heart for the Great Commission. This group is open-ended, i.e. students will not automatically move through to the next level until they are ready.
- Our leader's group is for those students actively involved in ministry with Power to Change on campus. This 3rd level group is selected and the commitment level expected is high.
- 3) Weekly Meetings
- The primary purpose of our weekly meetings is to gather students from across campus to regularly expose them to: a) the work of God on campus, and b) Biblical truth as it relates to fulfilling the Great Commission; c) Christian community.
- Each semester we will plan at least one weekly meeting that is specifically designed to communicate the message of the gospel in a clear and attractive way. This “evangelistic weekly meeting” will act as a “line in the sand” for Christian students to invite their friends to hear the gospel.
- Our first semester weekly meetings will try to complement the material covered in the introductory small groups, i.e. assurance of salvation, etc.
Weekly meetings will also provide opportunities for our students to develop their public speaking, hospitality, evangelism, promotion, creativity, etc.
- Our weekly meeting style will try to be as relaxed and informal as possible, in order to engage students’ hearts as well as minds. Music is a vital part of our efforts to escape from the “it’s just another class” apathy and provides students with an opportunity to participate in the meeting and move their focus from themselves to God.