Jesus. Real Life.

Life of Love Support Group

There’s a long story here, but I’m going to skip to the end (maybe give a pre-quel later). ūüôā The other day, I was emailing a friend, Pat Loughery, and said this in response to a question he asked me:

The actual shape of my life day to day matters so much more than I used to think.¬† Realizing this has brought me to more of a “one day at a time” approach, and makes me more appreciative of friends who support me in really pursuing a life of love.

When I typed the last three words, an idea–and a strong motivation–to start a support group built around the purpose of pursuing a life of love, in the way of Christ, hit me hard.¬† I spoke to a few close friends about it,¬†and a couple of other folks that I think the Spirit highlighted for me.¬† We had our first meeting this last Tuesday, and I was really, really¬†encouraged, and I think many were.¬†

For those who aren’t familiar with support groups, the below outline may not give a clear enough idea of what we do (and why and how), but I figured I’d post it anyway.¬† I’m a little jazzed, too, that after¬†having just¬†our first meeting and giving out this outline, someone else volunteered to facilitate the next meeting.¬† Here’s to Love.

LIFE OF LOVE GROUP ‚Äď Proposed Meeting Format

A Support Group for People Who’s Highest Goal Is To Make Real Progress in Living a Life of Love in the Way of Jesus

  1. Hangout, snacks, etc.
  2. At the appointed time, the facilitator calls everyone to the meeting; someone reads: “The purpose of this group is to support each other as we seek to live lives of greater love in the way of Jesus. The desire for such progress in love¬†is the only requirement for membership.”
  3. Someone reads a scripture chosen by the facilitator in keeping with our purpose. (e.g., I Cor. 13, various I John passages, various Psalms, John 3:16, etc.).
  4. If there are any newcomers, the facilitator gives basic outline for the meeting and the closing time.
  5. The facilitator (i) introduces a time of silence to give everyone the opportunity to stop, think and/or pray, and (ii) closes the time with a simple “Amen” or the serenity prayer or another appropriate prayer to the group’s purpose, whether scripted or spontaneous.
  6. If there are relatively new people, the facilitator may go over the basic rules of the discussion time, which are born out of our common purpose:¬† +++ Respect for other members:¬† This is a space for people to “work out their own rescue” from lovelessness in the presence of God and others.¬† Each person is chiefly responsible for his or her own progress in love or the lack of it, therefore, each person is welcome to share or not in turn as they deem best.¬† Feelings and/or personal experience are preferable to theory.¬† No hard rules on length, but we want in general to be considerate so that others also have time to be heard.¬† Listening is our primary way to love each other in the discussion time. So that each of us can avail ourselves of this time without being shamed, we do not give feedback or advice to other members unless they specifically ask for it (even then, it may be best not to give it during discussion, but rather to share your own experience and pray!).¬† Affirmations or gratitude for what someone else has shared is always welcome.¬†¬†+++ Confidentiality: Everything said in the meeting is confidential, and will not be disclosed to others.
  7. The facilitator introduces the topic of discussion as well as the freedom (and encouragement!) to deviate from the topic.¬† Each person is encouraged to talk about whatever they feel will help them make progress in love.¬† If there are any (relatively) newcomers, the facilitator should ask each person to introduce themselves by first names at their turn to share.¬† More than one “round” of discussion is totally fine, as are additional, related topics or questions by the facilitator until time is up.
  8. At the agreed time, the facilitator announces the end of discussion time, invites all to make note of any particular items that they want to “take away” for their own progress, allows each person a quick opportunity to share their take away or not.
  9. [optional] Time of singing to God.  The facilitator encourages people to approach this time within the context of our goal of learning to love God and receive love from him.  Try not to simply sing out of habit.  Each person is free to sing, , listen, stand, sit, kneel, etc. as each deems helpful toward our goal.
  10. Close by leading all in the Lord’s Prayer or Psalm 23 or other group prayer appropriate to the purpose. The facilitator encourages anyone who wants to pray further or receive prayer to do so.¬† Same for discussion, snacks, helping to clean up, or leaving the meeting.¬†

2 responses

  1. i really resonate with this!! do i get to do 90 meetings in 90 days?

    actually, that is the first question i have: what is the regularity and rhythm of these meetings?

    i’ll be nterested to hear (or read) about the on-going dynamic that this is creating/sustaining in the lives to the participants…my hunch is that transformation will occur, mostly because they will be posturing themselves for it through this, but this sort of countercultural gathering will likely enhance the practice of ‘sustained attention’ in their lives toward living a life of love, so i’ll be really interested in hearing the ‘harvest of love’ stories…

    June 5, 2010 at 7:19 am

  2. T


    I figured you might be drawn to this. For now, there’s just one meeting, once a week. A mustard seed? ūüôā I sincerely hope so. I’ll post some updates about the group as we go.

    You’re right about the ‘sustained attention.’ I’ve mentioned a few times already that if the group merely helps me remember love as my primary vocation/highest goal, it will be helping in a big way. In fact, it has helped me remember love at several random times since I started planning the first meeting, which has been great. I’ll post on that and how the first meeting helped me (and others) next.

    From the time I wrote Pat, I’ve felt such a strong pull for my own “recovery” along these lines and a sense of confidence that several others would feel the same. So far, so good. Thank you, Lord. I pray we do all make some real progress in this.

    June 5, 2010 at 10:28 am

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