What holds back the growth of Life Groups? Where are we accidentally restricting the multiplication of Life Groups by putting barriers in the way?
These are the questions we were asking last year by way of reflection to sharpen ourselves and the work we do.
Our golden rule has always been to only do what someone living in a village can replicate. As we reflected, we realised that linking the growth of Life Groups to travel by Impact Team volunteers was introducing a restraint. Be it volunteer time, or money to pay for bus fares…sooner or later you run out of time or money. Someone looking on can say, “I cannot do that because I don’t have the time or the money.”
In the second half of 2019 we were exploring how we could develop the Impact Team model further to make it freer. Freer to expand. Freer to be replicated. Freer to result in more Life Groups.
We began to understand it need to become decentralised. We needed to give space and requirement for people to step up into increased responsibility. We needed to reduce long distance travel by a few and increase short distance travel by many!
We began testing a new way of working in a few locations and saw promising results: people engaging on a deeper level with their local area, not seeming overwhelmed and having a new thirst for being involved. Enock, a relatively new volunteer, helped to plant 2 new groups in 2 months after shadowing his local team for a while. He did not need to wait for money, he did not need to spend a long time away from home, he did not need permission. He was free to implement the ideas he was learning about – and he did!
And then COVID-19 arrived. Suddenly Impact Team volunteers could not travel. This new way of working that we had been trialing became really important!
Team members shared ideas and learning. We wrote down the simple ideas we had been testing to help people see, share and understand. As we all adapt and learn together, we are seeing good things come out of this difficult season. Communication between teams is improving. People are taking responsibility for the work in their area. We are hopeful and expectant that God will use his people, right where he has placed them, to bring others to Jesus and to fight poverty in all its forms.
We still have work to do. Areas that are more remote or where teams were less developed need us to walk a little closer with them. We are committed to doing so, by phone call, by visit when we are able and by a determined focus on those areas.
Each of us has a part to play. In faith we are releasing the work of Impact Teams to a wider group of people. In the same way, in faith, we are releasing our support to a wider group of people. Please will you take on our 20:20 Challenge to support the work we are doing with Impact Teams and Life Groups? Find out more…