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    Author: Kyle Voiland

    Category: The Pulse 2019, The Pulse - 2019.02 Issue 2, The Pulse - 2019.03 Issue 3

    WEFC Conversation – Community Groups

    ABOUT 60 PEOPLE JOINED US for our second “WEFC Conversation.” The goal of this conversation was to process what we learned from the church survey about community groups and dive deeper into some of the results. The evening was hosted by the Survey Team: Brian Hucks, Janice Kooken, John Rascius, Kyle Voiland, and Pastor Mike.

    Pastor Scott opened the conversation by giving some of the background on the decision to increase the emphasis on community groups. This heightened focus came from the recognition that discipleship happens in the context of relationship and that we need to create space in our schedule to ensure that we were connecting in purposeful relationships. It was acknowledged that one unintended consequence of the shift towards emphasizing community groups was that some people felt a loss of connection with the larger church family beyond their community group.

    Results that were shared:
    Some of the main results from the survey as it related to community groups were shared:

    • 52% of the respondents were currently in a community group at WEFC. An additional 15% indicated they were involved in a community group that wasn’t affiliated with WEFC.
    • The top 3 reasons people chose to be in community groups are to develop deeper relationships with other Christians, to study the Bible, and have prayer support.
    • Those who aren’t currently in a community group are not for the following reasons: schedule doesn’t work, children pose a challenge, involved in other things
    • 35% have changed groups or considered changing groups for various reasons
    • 44% are satisfied with the change of focus. Others miss dedicated men’s and women’s ministries and larger church gatherings

    Questions that were discussed:
    After the overview and survey results, the attendees were split into five groups to brainstorm and discuss several important questions relating to community groups.  These topics included:

    1. What could WEFC leadership do to better communicate the vision and improve participation and understanding of community groups?
    2. Describe how a church focused on community groups can meet the different needs of men and women for community.
    3. What ideas do you recommend to increase participation in Community Groups?
    4. Now that WEFC has a greater focus on participation in Community Groups, many expressed a desire for whole church activities. Describe the types of whole church activities that would fill that need.
    5. How can we improve the Community Group experience as an opportunity for even deeper growth in leadership, discipleship, caring, prayer and the word, and relationships?

    What defines a Community Group?
    A question that came up consistently in the discussion was “what defines a community group?” It became clear through this conversation that some of the prior communication around community groups had unintentionally created overly strict mental boundaries as to what constitutes an “official community group.” In fact, the vision we want the entire WEFC family to catch is simply the importance of a few key values and how community groups can play an important role in living those out. These values are:

    • Discipleship happens in the context of relationship.
    • You can’t know everyone but you have to know someone

    Community groups can look a variety of ways. This is evidenced by many groups currently within the church, which include:

    • Couples,
    • Just women,
    • Just men,
    • Just singles,
    • Just one age group,
    • Just parents,
    • Just retired people,
    • Mixed groups as you define them.

    Community Groups can study:

    • Sermon Series,
    • Printed or online Bible study materials,
    • Topical Studies,
    • Books,
    • Personal Growth topics,
    • Basically, anything defined by the consensus of the group and involving our Christian walk.

    Community Groups can meet:

    • Weekly, bi-weekly, monthly,
    • Early mornings, evenings, middle of the day,
    • In person, online, on the phone.

    Next steps:
    The survey team has gathered the results and is processing the feedback from the night in conjunction with the results from the survey. These results are being viewed not only from the perspective of each individual topic, but also from the overall, big picture view and how they correlate. We ask for your patience and prayers as the survey team works with the Executive Board and staff about the best ways to address and implement the feedback.