19 May, 2005 6:34 PM
I wrote a week or so back about how at LivingRoom we are testing our theory of Multiplication. When we first started as a group we wanted to grow by starting new groups rather than growing into a larger one - the time has come for that as a result of some numerical growth over the past year.
The question we were left with was not one of 'should' we multiple - but one of 'how' do you multiply?
After over two years of journeying with each other we find ourselves in an interesting place - a rich mix of people from different walks of life who've been sharing a few hours together each week in order to resource them for the rest of their lives together.
In thinking and praying about this dilemma I began to realize that the process of choosing how to multiply could become quite complicated. The choice of 'how' to form new groups could be based on many factors - but three main ones seemed to emerge in my thinking.
Logistics - whilst we all like to be postmodern and liquid in these types of communities the fact remains that sometimes we need to consider the life situation of people when making decisions. It's not very sexy I know - but factors like where people live, families (sometimes its easier to meet at the homes of families with younger children) and time availability come into play.
Relationships - there are a range of relational factors to keep in mind. On one hand people would like to be with people they feel comfortable with, that they share interests with, that they are in similar life circumstances to. People like being with people like them - I guess its part of who we are as humans. On the other hand we don't want to just split into homogenous, comfortable, like-minded groups. One of the things we've enjoyed about the journey so far is that we are a bit diverse - by gender, age, work situations, students, families, singles, marrieds etc. We all expressed a desire to find a balance between having diversity but maintaining relationships.
Mission - a couple of weeks ago we had a conversation where people shared their missional heart - the places that God was stimulating them to join him in. One of the suggestions that we've been playing around with was about forming communities around some of these passions, ideas and interests.
So two weeks ago I shared these three areas with the group and we began to sort through the different issues associated with each. The general initial feeling was that all were important, but that most of us were probably more leaning towards the missional and logistical side of things than the relational. I guess we realized that two years ago when we started we didn't know each other as a group and the relationships looked after themselves over time.
That night we came up with three draft lists of possible new groups to think about for a couple of weeks. In the mean time I invited people to give feedback and reactions to these groups via email or in person.
Last night I brought the feedback to the whole group and we tweaked two of the groups to align them even more towards along missional and relational lines. We now have three pretty firm groups!
So - I'm excited, apprehensive, curious and really looking forward to how it all goes.
Next week is our last week before splitting up - at which time we'll move into a new cycle of meeting separately most weeks and then coming back together as a larger tribe semi regularly (maybe monthly initially and then transitioning to every 6 or so weeks).
We still have to address some issues of leadership - but as I look at the three new groups I'm really excited about the mix of people in each. We've managed to keep an element of diversity yet some threads of commonality in each group and each group is made up of wonderful and capable people - each of whom could lead it in their own right.