This article is intended to help you, your friends, family and work colleagues, as you journey together, learning more about Jesus and how to put his ways into practice as communities-on-a-mission.
What are Simple Communities?
Your Simple Community is your extended spiritual family learning more about Jesus together and doing life together as an extended family-on-mission. Communities meet regularly over a Bring&Share meal as eating together is a great way to help people relax and be open and was a regular practice of Jesus and the Early Church.
Where Can Simple Communities Gather?
Simple Communities can gather together in homes, cafes, pubs, clubs, schools, colleges, universities, arts venues, workplaces – wherever people can meet over food and/or a drink with Jesus at the centre
When You Gather – In Three Parts
There are three parts to the gatherings – IN, UP and OUT (sometimes referred to as 3/3’s)
Ensure you allow enough time to cover all three parts every time you gather. Allow equal time for each part, for example if your meeting is 2hrs long, allow 40 minutes for IN, 40 mins for UP and 40 mins for OUT
–BRING&SHARE food/drink. Each person brings something to share with everyone else. We eat as we meet. The meeting is the eating
–HIGHS&LOWS – As we eat together we share our Highs&Lows of the week. Briefly share your Highs&Lows since you last met. What are you thankful for? What is stressing you out?
–TURN HIGHS TO THANKS/PROBLEMS TO PRAYERS– Turn the Highs people have shared into simple Thanks – ‘Thank-you Jesus for the new job BIll has got.’ Turn Problems into Prayers – ‘Jesus help Sue with her family situation’. Everyone can do this! No special language is needed, it’s just talking to God about the good things and the challenges we’re facing
–REPORT BACK – Report what happened when you each did your ‘Dares’ from last time. (During your time together you will set Dares/Goals for what you will do based on obedience to Jesus and also report who you have shared with since the previous session)
–VISION – each time you meet, briefly share the vision: what’s our purpose? where are we heading?
The Second Part of the Gathering
–READ THE BIBLE – read a short passage of the Bible. We usually start with the gospels or a simple stories (See HERE)
–WHAT DOES IT SAY? – ask everyone to retell what you’ve you read in your own words
–WHAT DOES IT MEAN? -ask everyone to share what stood out to them from the passage and what it means
–WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT? What do we need to do about what we have heard as individuals/as a community
–WHO ARE YOU GOING TO SHARE WITH? Who else could you share what you are learning with?
Try to make sure everyone is included in the discussion and has a chance to share
The Third Part of the Gathering. Make sure you don’t run out of time for this part!
We are all responsible for spreading this Good News to others and making disciples
Take some time to:
–PRACTICE SKILLS Together – in groups of 2/3, practice skills and using tools that will help you make disciples, such as; Name List (write down and pray for people who you want to share Jesus with). Share Your Story (before Jesus, how you met Jesus, since Jesus)
–SET GOALS – what each person will put into practice based on hearing and obeying Jesus. Make these goals specific- what will you do before we meet again
–SENDING PRAYER – pray for each person briefly. Practice Laying Hands as you pray for each other. Empower one another through the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts
In God’s Kingdom, things grow and multiply. Simple Communities are designed to grow and multiply as every disciple plays their part in the movement. Keep things as simple as possible and practice simple skills in making disciples and forming communities. Encourage every disciple to start a community where they live, work and play
Freedom & Responsibility
Jesus has all authority in heaven and earth and commanded us to go, make disciples out of all people groups. So we have absolute permission to go and start these disciple-making Simple Communities. (see Matthew 28:18-20)
But with great power, comes greater responsibility. When Jesus sent his disciples out in twos to gather Simple Communities in the households they were sent to, after they reported back all they had said and done. Those who start Simple Communities should be open to feedback and learning from others who have also started Simple Communities and be prepared to be part of a Learning Community themselves
Time to Start?
Ask God to help you think about:
Who are you going to invite?
List all the people you know where you live, work and play. Consider circles of people who already know each other – for example people at your local pub or the fitness class you go to. Invite them all. Roughly between 5-15 people is a good number for a Simple Community (depending on space at venue).
How are you going to contact them and gather them within the next few weeks to begin?
What are you going to invite people to?
-We’re going to Bring&Share food together
-Discuss and talk about Jesus
Where are you going to meet?
Meet wherever is suitable for the people you are going to gather. You can meet in a house, hairdressers, tea room, coffee house…wherever life happens
When are you going to meet?
Choose a day and time when people can regularly meet. We suggest 2-4 hrs. Give people enough notice, and gently remind them beforehand
Pray for the people and the gathering – that practical and spiritual aspects will fall into place so that your friends and family and contacts can learn more about Jesus
What Are You Waiting For?
I encourage you to now set a date and time for your first gathering. Pray for and invite your friends, family, work-colleagues. Invite your entire social-circle- list all the people you know…
If you have already started a Simple Community with your oikos (extended household/social network), then it is time to go and Find the Person of Peace (Matthew 10:11, Luke 10:1-12)
SIMPLE COMMUNITIES Booklets
If you want this simple guide on How to Start Simple Communities in hard copy, you can purchase one of our packs of 5 or 10 Simple Communities Booklets…[Contact Us HERE!]
Let us know how you get on!