Multiplication is a word that may feel scary or even has negative connotations when it comes to Community Groups. Here are some foundational truths and frequently asked questions we’ve heard from you about multiplication.
Three foundational truths…
The purpose of Community Groups is to make disciples, who make disciples through community. While we usually think primarily about relationships when it comes to Community Groups, relationships are merely the vehicle God has given us to see discipleship happen. Discipleship is simply the on-going process of a follower of Jesus growing to become more like Him. God uses community as one of his greatest shaping tools in forming us into the people He’s called us to be. *See Matthew 28:18-20 and Ephesians 4:12-16 as examples of this.
New groups are almost always the best groups for new people to join. New groups help remove some of the awkwardness of walking into a group where everyone already know each other. New groups offer the opportunity to clarify the purpose and practices of the group. New groups have natural momentum that is harder to generate in an existing group.
The best leaders of new groups are people who have had a good group experience. That means the best future leaders of groups at PV are in your group right now!
WHAT do we mean by “multiplication” within Community Groups?
Multiplication boils down to this: any positive movement that creates space for new people to join a group. Notice that it’s a positive movement–a group split doesn’t count!
Examples of healthy multiplication:
- A new leader is identified and steps away from their group to go start a brand new group.
- A group decides to divide into two groups with a leader for each, creating space in both groups to add new people and restart as two new groups.
Either of these scenarios could be influenced by geography, meeting day or time.
- A group member leads a D Group (Discipleship Group) with 2-3 others of their same gender. At the end of that D Group, each person commits to leading a new D Group or Community Group.
WHY does multiplication matter?
Jesus’ mission to reach the entire world is built on a strategy He modeled of intentionally investing in a small group and then sending them out to replicate this with others. We’re here 2000 years later because the church has always been about multiplication. Every group you’ve ever been in was a result of people being willing to multiply and create space for you and others to join because they saw their role in this larger mission. Multiplication is an indicator of a healthy group, engaged in the larger mission of Jesus.
WHEN should a group multiply?
Multiplication should always be talked about as an intended outcome for the group, but there are three essential elements necessary for healthy multiplication to happen. When all three are present, healthy multiplication is possible.
1. Common Mission: the group has identified the unique part their group plays in living out the mission of groups, informed by kingdom passion, spiritual giftedness, mutual experiences, general life-stage, and spiritual maturity. Use the Serving With Your Group assessment to help identify a common mission.
2. Committed Community: the group is committed to each other and to sharing their lives in a way that is reflective of the kind of community we’re called to as the body of Christ.
3. Equipped Leader: Without an equipped leader, multiplication can not happen. It begins by understanding what it is God is working in this person’s life and helping them embrace a vision for making disciples in community.
WHO should multiply?
Not every group member can or should lead a Community Group; however, every person has a part to play. An equipped leader is one who has the character and spiritual maturity to lead others, who has a passion for seeing new people connect and grow. By being intentional about giving shared leadership roles in your group, you will be able to recognize and leverage the natural gifts and skills that a potential leader possesses.
- Begin by having each member identify their natural bent from one of three orientations:
UP – relationship with God, spiritual formation/worship (value: believe)
IN – relationships within the group, deeper belonging (value: belong)
OUT – relationships with outsiders, outreach/serving/mission (value: become)
- Once their orientation is identified, identify a specific role of leadership they can play within the group leveraging this natural bent. See Suggested Leadership roles as examples and ideas, but you’re not limited to just this list.
- A future group leader usually starts with a smaller role of responsibility that you can begin building on. Then challenge them to identify WHO it is they are passionate about reaching.
Leading a D Group is a great step of development, both spiritual growth and leadership experience.
What’s the difference between a group “split” and “multiplication?”
Though some circumstances may be similar, it all comes down to motivation. If the motivation for change is purely the result of circumstances, disagreement, or feeling forced to do so, it will feel like a group split which is not positive for anyone. However, if it’s based on a shared vision and motivated by the mission of seeing new people connected and growing, then multiplication becomes something we look forward to and push our groups toward.