Harvest Church (www.harvestchurch4u.org), a young United Methodist congregation twenty miles southwest of Macon, met for seven years
(on Sundays) on the move in a rented theatre. They learned about adaptive systems, digital multimedia tools, and flexible overhead. Since building a multipurpose facility on 43 acres near Warner Robins, Georgia in 2007, Harvest Church applied what they learned about mobility and sustained rapid growth to 2,700 in worship attendance, with seven weekend services. They dispensed with a typical education wing (at significant cost savings) and classrooms in favor of four multipurpose rooms. Over the past two years they adopted a community group strategy. This type of community groups is evolving at several other large churches (e.g., the independant Seacoast Church) by establishing “community groups” primarily in homes. In the first year they have expanded from 72 community groups to over 300 community groups, and more than 100% participation.
Living the Five Participant and Leader Guide and the Living the Five videos are positioned as the initiating resource for every community group. Each community group is oriented to live out five declarative principles:
1. You can’t do life alone.
2. Growing people change.
3. Saved people serve people.
4. Found people find people.
5. Worship is a lifestyle.
About the Author
Jennifer Cowart is Executive and Teaching pastor of Harvest Church. With degrees in Christian education, counseling, and business, she has been integral to the development of the Emerging and Discipleship Ministries at Harvest. Jen is a gifted Bible teacher and speaker and the author of three women’s Bible studies, Pursued (Spring 2021), Fierce, and Messy People as well as several studies co-authored with her husband, Jim, including The One and Living the Five. She and Jim love doing life with their kids, Aly, Josh, and Andrew.
Table of Contents
Foreword Rick Warren iv
Introduction Jim Jennifer Cowart v
Tools to Help Have a Great Community Group Experience vii
Outline of Each Session viii
Session 1 You Can't Do life Alone 1
Session 2 Growing People Change 18
Session 3 Saved people Serve People 34
Session 4 Found People Find People 50
Session 5 Worship is a Lifestyle 64
Frequent Questions 80
Community Group Covenant 83
Community Group calendar 85
Community Group Roster 86
Prayer Requests and Praise Reports 87
Memory verses (Clip and Review) 89
Community Group Leaders
Starting a New Community Groups 92
Leading or Hosting a Discussion 93
10 Host Tips 94