“Doing life together” has become a cliché to describe small groups and ministry teams. In their book, From Couch to Community, Austin Maxheimer and Zach Below identify 7 principles of life together that may serve as a filter to determine if this is actually happening in the groups we lead.
7 Principles of Life Together
1: Life together exists in real life.
We are great at being faithful to our weekly meetings. However, those meetings exist as one tiny piece of our total life. Our group time together makes up 0.9% of our week. Obviously, that is less than 1% of our time. Do we really feel comfortable claiming that less than 1% is “Life Together”? On any percentage tracking scale, that is beyond failing. Encourage group members to spend time together outside of scheduled meetings.
2: Life together is celebratory.
Our lives are filled with big highs and low lows. Do we share them together? People outside of the church know how to celebrate. They don’t have a weekly scheduled meeting with one another, so celebration has to be a natural part of life. If Dusty gets promoted on a Tuesday, we’re going out celebrating Tuesday night. This type of celebration is indicative of people living life together.
3: Life together has meat.
People crave relationships that challenge and encourage them. The good news is—our groups are talking about things that matter. The bad news is—most of the time it only comes out of a formal forced time. If we are truly living life together then the “meat of life” will extend beyond our small group time and into our natural conversations. To get there we have to buy into the next principle.