Whether we realize it or not, there are a number of benefits in doing life together:
- Because every member has a unique shape or wiring, they bring different spiritual gifts, life passions, abilities, personalities and experiences to the conversation.
- Because every part of the body is necessary, there are things we miss out on when we’re not part of a group. 1 Corinthians 12
- Because every member is different from a spiritual maturity standpoint, there’s a role for everyone in the group. Depending on the biblical principle, I might be the student sometimes and other times I might be the teacher.
An often unrealized benefit to doing life together in a group is learning to apply scripturetogether. To become doers of the word and not hearers only” (James 1:22 HCSB) is almost always a team sport!
Here are four practices that can help you learn how to apply scripture as a group:
- Regularly include questions in your time together that pull toward application. Whether you’re studying the Bible together or simply sharing a meal, steering conversation toward application moves the experience from information to transformation. As important as it is to understand what the Bible means, if we don’t get to doing what it says we miss the point.
- Provide opportunities in group meetings to model or role play application. Different learning styles (verbal, visual, physical, etc.) make it essential to build in different ways of teaching the principle. Sam O’Neal has a great series of posts on learning styles.
- Add offline check-ins as an essential ingredient. Groups that only interact during their meeting time rarely experience the depth of connection that produces life-change. A quick phone call, a Facebook message or text, meeting for coffee or even sitting together in the worship service takes relationship to a new level. Building in the practice of asking, “Have you been able to put what we learned into practice?” goes a long way toward becoming doers.
- Add a “how’d your week go?” component to every meeting. Spending a few minutes talking about how members applied what was learned last week brings scripture to life. Without application, learning never moves from information to transformation.
The key in all four practices? Group leaders set the pace. Speed of the leader, speed of the team is an often quoted axiom of grouplife. It’s never more true than in learning to apply scripture as a group. See also, 5 Keys to a More Dynamic Group Experience.