Live Connected: Phases of a Group

Strangers to Acquaintances

When your group first forms most people in the group will be strangers. As the leader you want to be thoughtful about help the group move from Strangers to Acquaintances. The milestones for that jump are:

  • Everyone in the group knows each others’ names.
  • The group has an established meeting rhythm.
  • Group attendance averages more than 75%.
  • Participants take ownership by taking on various roles.

Acquaintances to Friends

After a season of  getting to know each other through using Next Steps from the Sunday message your group will begin to grow from Acquaintances to Friends. The milestones for that relational jump are:

  • Participants are relationally connected to at least 2-3 others in the group.
  • Participants spend time together outside of the group meeting context.
  • Participants comfortably share their needs with the group.
  • Participants both serve and support each other in their daily lives.

Friends to Transparent Community

Once your group has a core group of people who consistently come to group and y’all are regularly sharing real things from life you will began to see the group shift from Friends to Transparent Community. The Milestones that mark this relational transition:

  • The group culture is one of safety, confidentiality, vulnerability, and high trust.
  • Each group member feels safe enough to be fully themselves and fully open.
  • Each group member has shared his/her life story with the group.
  • Running Partner relationships are beginning to form naturally within the group.

Resources for your Group during Live Connected

Next Step Questions

1.) Next Steps: We start all our groups with a Sunday morning series. These series are 4-8 weeks long. Groups spend their first 4-8 weeks of meetings discussing the next steps from the message. If your group hasn’t formed a consistent core and is still open for new people to connect to stay in Next Steps beyond the 8 week time period.

Starting Point

Andy Stanley

2.) Starting Point: After a season doing Next Steps and getting to a place where you have a core group of people consistently coming to group, then you will transition your group to do an 8 week series called Starting Point. These series really explains well what the Gospel is and helps each group member to start sharing their stories.


Soul Revolution

John Burke

3.)  Soul Revolution: After Starting Point, your group will spend 4 weeks working through 8 chapters in the book Soul Rev. This will give your group the chance to try out homework and start getting deeper into spiritual content. Through real-life stories, explore how God takes imperfect people, regardless of their past, and leads them into a relational journey toward their heart’s greatest desire. This book serves as a great way to introduce your Life Group to all four areas that will be explored in Outcomes (Love God, Love People, Be the Body, Build Character).

Relate to God Outcome

4.)  One Outcome off of the Spiritual Growth Path: After Soul Rev your group will be ready to jump into your 1st outcome.  This will give your group a taste of what is up ahead for them and also give them a frame of reference for what they are saying yes to when a Grow Pastor comes to visit your group to do an Ask and Close that will propel you into Be Transformed

How to Share your Story

5.) Share your Story: The last thing you will do before moving into Be Transformed is give each Group member the space to share their story. Use one of these story telling exercises in your group to help in getting to know one another in a deeper more transparent ways. These exercises were written to help a group of friends become closer through understanding the story of their life.

Groups are encouraged to plan a day away or an overnight retreat where they can share stories and have fun together.

Tools: Live Connected

Icebreaker Exercises:

For a fun way to warm up the group and begin to get to know others, try starting group meetings with 1 or 2 icebreaker games. There are many great icebreaker game ideas online: click here for a great example, or just google search “icebreaker games for small groups” for other ideas.

Contact Info Sheet:

One simple way to help your group move from being strangers to acquaintances is to have everyone exchange contact information right from the beginning. You can use this form, or just pass around a pen and a pad of paper. Have one person collect the info and then email it out to the group, or have everyone in the group write a copy of their own.

Get to Know You Questions:

A great way for people in your group to get to know each other well and to form strong relational bonds is simply to ask good open-ended questions. Consider opening each group meeting time with one good get-to-know-you question that everyone in the group gets to answer. For some great question ideas, check out GetToKnowU.com.

Care Calendar:

A key milestone in the Create Loving Community stage is for group members to grow more comfortable sharing their needs with the group and asking for prayer and practical support. As these needs come up in your group, a care calendar is a great tool to help your group organize support. CareCalendar.org is a web based system to organize meals and other help for families during a time of illness or life changing event, such as the birth of a baby or death of a family member.


Running Partner Guidelines:

Another key milestone of the Create Transparent Community stage is for Running Partner relationships to begin forming in the group. See these Running Partner Guidelines for more information on Running Partners and for a list of guidelines and questions for Running Partners to use during their meeting time together.