Life Groups are at the heart of all our activities. They create a forum for people to come together, study the Bible, share ideas and develop friendships. The aim is simple – that we all learn to love God and to love our neighbour. As we grow in faith, so we grow in our actions, serving God by helping people within our communities. So how is this idea realised?
The very first Life Groups were planted in 2008. Since then we have continued to plant groups and support existing groups. Today there are over 400 Life Groups meeting with an estimated average membership of 20 people in each group. That’s over 8,000 people being given a chance learn about and explore the Bible, ask questions about their faith and discover what it means to follow Jesus.
To make Life Groups happen we run Schools of Evangelism training sessions in remote or isolated communities. At training sessions we combine Biblical teaching and practical skills sessions to help people understand both why we are called to make a difference in our communities and how we can do this.
We encourage participants to gather a few people in their community and start meeting together, praying together and using the study materials we provide them with. Study materials include Rooted in Jesus, a practical, interactive group programme in Christian discipleship specifically written for Africa, Love Your Village and other materials we prepare as required.
Once people have begun we help with further training sessions. Each Life Group is started by and run by a local villager who we believe God has placed in their village for such a time as this.
Throughout 2017 we are running the Deeper Campaign, an initiative to encourage and equip each exiting Life Group to plant a new Life Group in a neighbouring community. We hope to see the number of Life Groups double, along with an increase in the resultant effects of Life Groups.
We are seeing great things happen as a result of Life Groups meeting. Some of the different things we’ve witnessed are:
Unity growing between churches previously divided
People becoming Christians and lives being turned around for the better
Villagers planting fields to pay for a school and teacherFamilies adopting orphan children
Elderly people being cared for; some being provided with blankets, some prayed with or even some having their roof mended
Life! Groups in neighbouring villages working together to repair a bridge
Life! Groups from different areas working together to help a recovered alcholic man return to his family
We encourage people to use their own skills and ideas – a community member is much more likely to come up with a culturally relevant and simple solution to a problem than an outsider.
People who thought they could do nothing are transforming their communities as they discover freedom and hope in Jesus and start to work together in community.They are discovering their God given purpose and bringing real and lasting hope to their communities.
If you would like to experience a Life Group for yourself, why not invite us to run a Life Group session or training event at your church or youth group. We can run a full session for you (about an hour) or a trimmed down one to suit a time slot that suits you. Please contact us for more information.
In Nchelenge, a town in Northern Luapula Province, Zambia, a Life Group met in a small village settlement by the lake.
An alcoholic man joined them thinking it was a political meeting. Alcoholics in rural Africa are usually ignored by the church and wider community.
They are seen as hopeless layabouts who cause trouble for everyone and receive very little help.
However, this particular Life! Group invited the alcoholic to attend their meetings rather than turning him away. He found people who loved him and wanted to help. Through God and the help of others, he has totally changed. He has stopped drinking and has made a new start to his life.