I have been a member of several other churches that have small groups. They are called variously: growth groups, connection groups, community groups (ours currently), and several other names. Our goal is to start many more small groups, in the fall and beyond, to the point where we have 40-50% of our Sunday morning worship attendance in small groups.
Before I go much further, let me talk about the term “small groups.” By small, we mean 8 to 12 people. Why? Because, if a group gets bigger than 12, the dynamic of interaction changes and two things generally follow. First, some people feel intimidated by the size and are reluctant to open up to sharing, especially personal things. Second, as the group gets larger, many people don’t ask or answer questions about the subject being studied, and the same 4 or 5 folks do all the talking.
Now, back to the name thing. I (and many other group “experts”) believe that the name “connection” seems to say only a beginning place beyond worship attendance, and “community” sounds a little vague and non-descriptive. “Growth” might indicate that it is all about spiritual development and discipleship.
I want to call all those groups we’re going to start, LIFE groups, because groups especially as we find them in the New Testament, are about doing life together.
There is an anagram that says it: Living In Faith Every Day. The point is that groups should do more than meet every Sunday or twice a month, during the week for study and fellowship and prayer. They should be sharing their own lives by caring for each other, encouraging each other and helping to equip one another. LIFE groups also share in the life of the church, exhibiting its DNA, as they live together.