The groups world would be wise to look over her shoulder, recognize the heroes that started the contemporary small group movement, and embrace some forgotten assumptions about group life that were established decades ago.
One of the pioneers of the contemporary small group movement is Lyman Coleman. Lyman is one of my heroes and one of the greatest thinkers in the small group space – ever. Lyman established a ministry called Serendipity. His description of Serendipity reads, “Serendipity is what happens when two or three get together and share their lives and the Holy Spirit does something beautiful when you least expect it.” Sounds like a great small group gathering, don’t you think?
For the next few days I want to remind us of some of the philosophies and practices that were established by Lyman. These philosophies and practices have the power to re-establish what small groups really can do. They also unearth for us what we can become through the work of the Holy Spirit, an understanding of and the importance of living the expectations unearthed in the Word of God, and what really happens as we live in sincere Christian community together.
Today, Lyman’s 8 Assumptions Behind the Serendipity Group Model:
- We are created in the image of God and endowed with amazing potential
- This potential can be realized through Jesus Christ, in the company of a supportive Christian community.
- To become a truly supportive Christian community we need to get to know one another in depth, and this takes time, effort and a common commitment to life together.
- Personal growth begins with inner change – as we respond to the invitation of God for newness of life.
- The Holy Spirit has endowed us with spiritual gifts for ministering to others within our supportive community, and through the community to the church and world at large.
- Scripture is the living account of God’s redemptive activity, and the primary guide to his will for right now.
- Spiritual wholeness includes our whole being – our emotions, relationships, values, and lifestyles.
- Celebration happens naturally and spontaneously when we are set free in a supportive Christian community to discover and express the beautiful persons we are in Christ.
This list was taken from the Serendipity Encyclopedia by Lyman Coleman.