On Sunday, I presented the State of the Church Address, where I laid out the path for the coming year. This being a vision message, the address began with me reflecting on our mission to grow compelling relationships with God and others that have an irresistible influence in the world. Nothing new, but it still gets me excited. The specific changes I announced had to do with our Community Group format. From this year forward, we are going to meet weekly and base our curriculum on our sermons.
Here are a couple of excerpts from the message:
- Sermon-based Curriculum
Community Groups will now use sermon-based curriculum. It’s important to know that this is more than regurgitation of the sermon. Every week a curriculum insert will be found in the bulletin. On one page will be the sermon outline, and the other three pages will include parallel passages, personal reflections, and application points. The sermon provides the launching pad for conversation, but the study will guide the discussion.
- Weekly Meetings
From both secular and faith-based studies, we know that frequent contact is necessary for relationships to achieve their potential. And since our mission is to accomplish compelling relationships we need to provide a format that allows more time together. Rather than meeting every other week, Community Groups will now meet weekly. By meeting on a weekly basis for 10 consecutive weeks, people will have the opportunity to experience deepening, spiritual friendships. There will be 3 quarters per year.
During the message, I referenced North Coast Church in San Diego. Led by Larry Osborne, this church has pioneered the sermon-based model. Over the past thirty years they have continued to implement this winning strategy and show no signs of modifying it. But, then again, why would they? The approach works! These are Larry’s words:
To be structured for spiritual growth, a church must have some sort of method in place to consistently connect people to both significant relationships and the Bible…the simplest and best tool I’ve ever seen for connecting people to one another and engaging them with the Bible for the long haul is a sermon-based small group. It offers a format that fits the way we spiritually grow, while providing a framework for a healthy and sticky church. Nothing compares.
Larry Osborne, Sticky Church