What are the qualifications and requirements for a community group to form or for those who would provide leadership for one?
1. You must have faithfully attended Bridgeway for at least six months and be committed to supporting it financially and prayerfully as God may lead (see 1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 8-9; Gal. 6:6-10; Phil. 4:14-20; 1 Tim. 5:17-18).
2. You should clearly demonstrate the necessary skills and gifting to effectively lead the people in your community group. While every group leader is ultimately responsible for pastoral care, administration, and mission, leaders are encouraged to delegate the responsibilities for administration and mission within the group as much as possible. In contrast, pastoral care cannot be “delegated” as it were—but is rather the primary role of the community group leader. Ideally, we recommend that a community group have at least two individuals who can provide leadership and facilitate the study of God’s Word. Whoever is leading a community group must also be willing to faithfully attend whatever times of special training and equipping that the pastoral team provides.
3. We ask that all community group leaders be people who are in general agreement with the Bridgeway statement of faith. If you find areas where you disagree, you should discuss this with one of our pastors. Although we would rejoice if you could embrace every tenet of our statement, we recognize that there will often be differences of opinion on secondary doctrinal matters. The bottom line is that you must agree not to teach anything contrary to what is found in our statement of faith.
4. You must be willing to submit to the authority of the elders of Bridgeway and the pastoral team who assume primary responsibility for our community group ministry. All of us on the pastoral team are available to train and equip you for whatever ministry you may wish to pursue. We will also work to provide you with whatever resources and prayer support you need to succeed in your calling.
5. All community group leaders must also be covenant members of Bridgeway. Classes for covenant membership are regularly scheduled throughout the course of the year and we encourage you to take advantage of them as soon as possible.
What should you do next if you are thinking of starting and leading a community group?
1. We strongly encourage you to join an existing group first, offer yourself as an “apprentice” to the leader of that group, and be willing to humbly serve in any capacity that is available and helpful to that leader. If the leader is willing to take you on as an apprentice, they will lead you through the apprentice training plan found in our community group handbook, which helps you and your leader assess your readiness, as well as give you gradually-increasing levels of responsibility, accompanied with feedback, and opportunities to debrief your experiences. After completing an interview process with the pastors and elders, when the time is right, you and your leader will talk with the group and begin planning a multiplication of that group.
2. Another avenue is to simply contact us and let us know of your desire to start and lead a community group. The pastor who currently oversees this ministry will get in touch with you and set up a time to meet.
3. Our pastoral team and the elders will prayerfully make a determination whether or not this is the right time for you to launch your group.