This is part of a series of posts on what a missional community is – check out the others and let me know if you have any thoughts or questions.
Yesterday, I shared how Missional Communities suffer without Life Transformation Groups, but it’s also true the Life Transformation Groups suffer without Missional Communities.
Life Transformation Groups provide the best context for questions about the Bible and personally applying them to your life. Life Transformation Groups are small enough and their nature as gender-specific create a space for vulnerability to admit what you don’t know about God’s Word or admit the parts of God’s Word you don’t actually live.
Community Groups, or Missional Communities, serve as a family forum of sorts dialoguing about a community’s understating and application of the Bible, while LTGs create the space for a more personal dialogue, challenge, and application.
Life Transformation Groups have a self-explained role in their title, seeing people changed. The major question is how. They agree to read and study a portion of scripture together, then come together to discuss not just what they’ve learned, but how God challenged them in reading it. The dialogue usually cuts to the heart of the issue and then moves to what change must happen to follow God and love others well. Lastly, the aim is to pray for each other’s needs and each other’s friends.
While these groups are amazing, your first experience will probably suck.
Your First LTG will Probably Suck
We had agreed to read the gospel of Luke together, but every time we met one of us hadn’t read it. This was new to us and we had a suitcase full of excuses around busyness or life that we could get out of it. But we still tried the confession aspect and honestly that was painful.
Initially it was good to confess things I hadn’t shared with people, freeing even, but when the confession time kept being a repeat of the week before it reminded me of ineffective accountability groups.
We also weren’t connected to a missional community, so we lacked a broader accountability and space to pursue relationships and the life of Christ outside of studying and talking about it. It didn’t last more than a month.
But since then I’ve seen them get better. Here’s how…
Jesus as the Aim
We have shifted the questions from the list of what you did/didn’t do to being all about Jesus and your pursuit of Him. The scriptures continually push us to focus on Jesus and His gospel as the means by which we are transformed. The actions we have done or didn’t do are merely a reflection of our lack of loving Jesus most.
So the questions push us beyond behavior and into joy. Confession and forgiveness is easier when we are reminded of Jesus first.
Smaller Chunks of Scripture Deeper
The original Life Transformation Group encouragement is to study large chunks of scriptures, but there is so much depth in every passage. Slowing down the study and conversation allows us to deal with the impacts of the truth more clearly.
More than LTGs with Mission
Life Transformation Groups connected to Missional Communities create the space for extending the gospel of Jesus Christ to others outside the community. When this happens, it provides a broader community that is after the same aims with the members of the LTG and also moves the LTG to prayer for those they love.
Life Transformation Groups get better as they focus on living the full life of Christ moving beyond bible study and confession into mission with a broader community.