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Group Fellowship Instructions for Leaders

How to Start and Lead a Fellowship

It has come to our attention there is a need for a structured framework to help fellowship leaders start and lead a Christ-life fellowship. While we want fellowships to grow organically according to the direction of the Holy Spirit, a framework will help new and existing leaders organize and structure a group to allow growth in both the group and the individuals.

Group Styles

Groups are defined, and will differ, according to cultural boundaries. American fellowships will be very different from international groups. Groups in the Middle East will need specific restrictions and safety guidelines accordingly. Gender roles, marital status, religious speech laws, group size restrictions, acceptable meeting locations are a few of the controlling issues that need to be considered according to the country, region, political constraints, and such. Fellowship leadership must remain respectful and lawful and deliver this precious message in peace and love.

Closed Groups

For security purposes, in-home groups should be closed and only include well-known and trusted members.

Open Groups

For security purposes, open groups should be in public or neutral locations (not in a home) and are open to new-comers.

Open Groups require arranging for a meeting room in a public space, such as a restaurant, café, hotel, community center, or conference center, etc., which may incur extra expenses for room rental. Some restaurants will provide a separate room free with the understanding that the group will buy food & drinks. Leaders are encouraged to speak to managers about such arrangements.

In a larger fellowship, a possible structure could include a “large group” time when everyone meets for music and testimonies, followed by splitting off into “open groups” and “closed groups.” Closed Bible study times would focus on a specific unit of instruction for a specific period of time, such as a 10-week study of the first 10 lessons of the Fundamentals. This ensures everyone starts together and progresses together, preventing people from jumping in mid-stream, in the middle of a teaching series or book.

Attendance

Attendance is important for focused Bible studies and encouraged for other meetings. More frequent attendance keeps students interested in the lessons. Therefore, weekly meetings may encourage more attention than monthly meetings. We encourage weekly studies for 6-, 8-, or 10-week periods, with a short break (a few weeks to a month) between sessions. The focused Bible studies need to be approached with commitment to complete the lessons, whether in a 10-week course in the Fundamentals or completing a CLF book. Attendance will be a requirement for certification of completion.

Fellowships should meet often enough to keep people connected and engaged, with the teaching as well as with each other. Groups meet weekly, bi-weekly, or, at the minimum, monthly. The schedule of a fellowship is approached as flexible with seasons, understanding people’s lives and demands change. A focused study may be offered for a quarter, followed by a short break before the next study. Time off may be needed during holidays or vacation times and resumed for the next focused study period.

Leader’s Role

Fellowship leaders are volunteer, unpaid meeting facilitators, dispensing the in-Christ message. They coordinate and track meetings and activities, and make the learning materials available to the group. Fellowship leaders need to have an advanced grasp of the Christ-life message, but do not need to feel they must “have all the answers” before they can lead a group. They are co-learners with the other members; they are not teachers.

Leaders need to be ready to receive/welcome new-comers, while being watchful for “wolves, foxes, and snakes.” We want to encourage group growth while protecting our people from scammers, opportunists, and people who would pollute this gospel or collect members’ information for their own purposes or gain.

Leaders should not give out money, but offer prayer and encouragement, and find other responsible ways to assist members in need. 

People (new-comers, members) may not collect emails, contact information, nor build a directory, list, or database of members.

Leaders should disregard long-distant contacts or requests for help, as they are commonly scams. Leaders should stay focused on simply providing the message in their own communities.

Promoting other churches, denominations, ministries, study groups, or materials in this setting is inappropriate and prohibited. People attending these meetings should come with contentment, genuine interest, and an open, hungry heart for this message, without skewing or twisting these teachings.

Accountability

Leader should keep a list of contact information of their group members to communicate meeting information. Leaders should keep this list private, but may ask members for permission to share there information with Christ-life Fellowship to receive updates and news.

Submit an online report of group activity, needs, prayer requests, testimonies, and funds.

Leader will be responsible for securing and protecting all teaching materials. The fellowship’s teaching videos may not be passed out to individuals or other groups. WRLitzman Grace Media, Inc. materials and Christ-life Fellowship materials are copyrighted and may not be copied. All leaders must read, honor, and uphold among their groups our copyright and translation rules at www.grace-media.net/copyright.

Personal Space & Physical Boundaries

Leaders should be alert and watchful of appropriate contact between individuals. Some may be too forward while others may be reluctant to protect their own personal space. Leaders should see where they need to step in to avoid or protect members from too-friendly contact. Shaking hands is appropriate contact.

Time Factors

Meetings need to be scheduled with both beginning and ending times, and leaders need to politely enforce both out of respect for people’s schedules and needs. Meetings should not be open-ended. Meetings can be one hour or two hours long, two hours being a maximum length for both the teaching and discussion. Two and a half hours being a maximum for meetings that include meals. Leaders can choose whether to include music and worship as they feel fits their group. Learning God’s Word would naturally produce a heart full of worship and thanksgiving, in a natural, organic manner rather than a structured, rote method.

Providing Food

Food is an option. It can make attending more convenient when people do not need to fit their meals around the meeting time. Food arrangements should be kept simple, easy, and minimal work, so as to not distract from the real purpose of the meeting. Options can include coffee/tea/water and light snacks such as crackers/cookies, a potluck where everyone brings a dish for the group, or each can provide / buy their own food. The fellowship’s expenses should be kept minimal and shared by group members.

Social Needs

The fellowship is more than just Bible studies. Social time needs to be a part of the fellowship schedule to allow friendships to grow and bonding between individuals and families. Periodic social gatherings, aside from Bible study classes, help members build a healthy support group of like-minded Christians where members can “do life together,” can celebrate together, and can share needs and heartaches together. Christians need support and encouragement by other members of the Body of Christ who know the in-Christ message and can speak this truth into each other’s lives as they go through life’s peaks and valleys together.

The leader needs to also let needs be made known as a way of allowing others to share the burden and also to set the example for the members to be able to open up and let their own needs to be known. This should be without a sense of bringing guilt or obligation to others, but to gently state the needs and to encourage others to allow Christ inside to respond as He moves them.

Offering

An offering basket can be set out and giving should be encouraged for support of the local fellowship and also for the Christ-life Fellowoship ministry and its missions. Members can know they are part of something bigger than themselves and that they have a purpose; they are invested and pouring into bringing this vibrant message to hungry hearts as Christ leads them. Christ is always for others.

Offering will be used to cover the local fellowship’s minimal expenses (Leaders Resources subscription, room costs, snacks, etc.), then the rest will be sent to Christ-life Fellowship headquarters in Dallas to support the ministry. Donations can be paid to Christ-life Fellowship at https://christlife.worldsecuresystems.com/donate, or with a check by mail, and should not be marked with specific designations as they go to a general fund. Comments can be attached or mailed on a separate piece of paper.

Learning Materials

WRLitzman Grace Media, Inc. provides learning materials online in the Grace Media Library on our website. We encourage you to avoid confusion that comes from commingling with other teachings; stick with this teaching material from WRLitzman Grace Media, Inc. or Christ-life Fellowship (www.christ-life.org) materials and the King James Bible (or an equivalent version in another language based on the Textus Receptus New Testament), avoiding modern bible versions and paraphrased versions.

Materials Usage Policy:

The Christ-life message stands alone. It will clean out wrong doctrines and transform the way you understand the Christian life. Because its foundation, Christ in you and you in Christ, is completely different from manmade doctrines, the in-Christ message cannot be added to other teachings, doctrines, or religions. To guard against commingling and confusion, we insist that all Christ-life fellowships stick to Christ-life Fellowship teaching materials alone and refrain from adding other teachings to their studies. Christ-life Fellowship provides a very large library of teachings in various formats and focusing on a broad range of topics to thoroughly help students grow in the knowledge of Christ as their life as the Holy Spirit leads and opens up the gospel through revelation.

Copyrighted Materials

WRLitzman Grace Media materials are copyrighted and may not be copied, translated, or distributed without explicit written permission from WRLitzman Grace Media, Inc. All leaders must read, honor, and uphold among their groups our copyright and translation rules at www.grace-media.net/copyright.

Where to Start

All groups should start either with The Fundamentals series workbooks 1 & 2 (The Joy of Knowing Who I Am and The In-Christ Position) or with the “Precept Upon Precept Fundamental Series” videos or audios, followed by the Precepts’ “Living Christ Series.” Group discussion is encouraged after watching/listening to the video/audio lessons. Leader should keep discussions on topic of the current teaching and redirect to avoid off-topic discussion and debate of doctrine or extraneous issues. Many questions will be answered later as the teaching progresses. We urge people to put their theological issues/questions “on a shelf” in their minds. The Holy Spirit will address it in His time. If an issue becomes a stumbling block, reach out to the Christ-life office through email for guidance.

Beyond the Precepts teachings, groups can watch/listen to other Christ-life Fellowship teachings, followed with discussion. WRLitzman Grace Media or CLF books can also be used as teaching material by reading and discussing one chapter at each meeting.

Fellowships should provide a fresh start of the Fundamentals for new-comers in a separate group/meeting from time to time. All new-comers need to learn the basic concepts to understand other in-Christ teaching. 

We suggest limiting question & answer time in meetings, as these often lead to off-topic, doctrinal debate that detract from focusing the message on Christ as life and commonly lead to conflict and division. Again, most answers will come at the appropriate time during the teaching.

 
 
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