Life Groups

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
—Proverbs 27:17

We've designed our 7 Habits strategy for your growth to begin with the fundamentals of "The Big 3." This means that Habit 3—Connect in a small group—is crucial for building healthy long-term relationships with other believers that can become the God-designed environment for connection and care! But this doesn’t automagically happen without personal investment. As we often say:

"You don't stumble upon great Christian community; you create it."

To create great Christian community requires the personal investment of “Consistent Connection!” That’s how Life Groups become the community of care we all need!

The Basics

To build a community of consistent connection that results in personal growth and care.
Life Groups are sermon-based and campus-specific small groups of 6-12(ish) people who meet weekly in participants' homes to do a minimum of 30 minutes of each of the following: build relationships, study the Word of God, and pray for one another. Life Groups meet over 2 semesters (Fall: Aug-Nov & Spring: Jan-Apr), take off for December, and generally slow down for the summer. During December, most do something fun like a Christmas party. During summer, groups come up with their own rhythm—take a break, meet half as often, rotate meetings between normal and fun, memorize Scott’s sermons word-for-word, etc. (‘Twas a joke, people.)

The Specifics

Life Group meetings work because they have 3 foundational elements that are definitional for what a Life Group is and that give them PoWeR


Each Life Group spends a minimum of 30 minutes per meeting, comprised roughly of 50% sharing with and 50% praying for one another.

We do this in various ways, with some combination of sharing and praying. For example, the entire group may first share prayer needs together for 15 minutes, then break into two gender-specific groups or into pairs/threes and share and pray for 10 mins, and then come back together to close for 5 min. Or maybe some other combination of sharing and praying, all together, or as two gender-specific groups, or in pairs, etc.? Different groups use different combinations of methods and often change things up from week to week, but what is important to monitor well is that sharing is not dominated by one/few so that praying becomes an afterthought. God uses prayer as a way to encourage and minister to one another.

(Acts 1:14; 2:42; Ephesians 1:16-17; Philippians 1:3-11; James 5:16)

Word of God

Each Life Group spends a minimum of 30 minutes studying our sermon-based Study Questions that are found in our weekly Sermon Guide on our app.

We use an "inductive" Bible study method that stays the same each week, uses the previous sermon as fodder for study, and encourages participants to learn how to study the Bible for themselves. This means going from particulars to principles by prayerfully studying the details—both in the text and the larger Scriptural context of a passage—and allowing them—and not our preconceptions—to determine meaning and application. It involves 3 parts, each with specific questions to guide us through the interpretive process:
(1) Observe: What does the text say?
(2) Interpret: What does the text mean?
(3) Apply: What is the text saying to us? 
(Joshua 1:8; Deuteronomy 6:6-9; 8:3; Psalm 119:11, 103-107; Mark 4:14-20; Acts 2:42; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12; 5:11-6:2)


Each Life Group spends a minimum of 30 minutes around the table, sharing food, catching up, connecting about life, and building meaningful relationships.

We expect our Life Groups to have fun together and care for one another well because they are designed to be the front lines of connection, relationship building, and personal/pastoral care. Because groups figure out what works best for how to make this work, the following details can vary widely, but here are some basics of how doing dinner together works. Some do as much as 60 minutes, which sometimes means everyone brings their own food or can mean bringing something to share. Some make something at home and some grab something from the store or drive-through on the way to Life Group—whatever works best for you.

(John 17:22-23; Ephesians 4:15-16; Colossians 3:12-17; Hebrews 3:13; 10:24-25)

Frequently Asked Questions

Why "campus-specific"?
Because when you're trying to create great Christian community, more togetherness works better than less. Being a multisite church, where we try to keep each campus small and personal, if people are doing Life Groups across campuses, it merely adds to their disconnection. Rather, Life Groups work best when a group shares the synergy of togetherness—worshiping together, serving during the same service, participating in other special campus-specific activities like outreach and the occasional "Good Ol' Fashioned Potluck & Prayer Meeting".

Why “sermon-based” groups?
Briefly: increased engagement, attentiveness, and note-taking during sermons; better and easier preparation as well as increased quality of discussions; repetition of Sunday morning material makes for better learning and greater effectiveness; unity of church-wide focus; greater movement through our 7 Habits process, i.e., it’s easier to bring people into groups (because they already know the material from hearing the sermon and experiencing Sunday worship); makes it easier to recruit leaders; and uniformity of group material means better assessment of effectiveness.

Are Life Groups based on age, stage of life, gender, etc.?
Yes and no. We don't insist that groups are formed around such factors, but they generally tend to be formed thus and we do our best when desired. However, there is occasionally a tension between this value and being campus-specific. This means that, while we do not have groups meet across campuses, we occasionally make an exception for some groups that need a critical mass that is simply not practical to make happen at each campus, e.g., singles, widows, etc.

Why do groups meet in homes and not at the Greeneville campus?
As a multisite church with multiple campuses and limited building space, we've not only had to find a way to scale to make groups happen outside of our building, but we've also found that groups that meet at the building do not typically build enough relationship time around the dinner table.

What do groups do about childcare?
Ah, the perennial difficulty of what to do about the kids! Basically, each group and family figure it out themselves. Most groups, which sometimes have more kids than adults (!), do dinner together with kids and families together, then they send the kids to another room/rooms, watched by the older kids or a paid sitter (or two).

What if our group wants to do more than 30 mins in one or all of the 3 elements of a meeting?
No problem! We're not against groups spending more time together! We suggest a minimum of 30 minutes per element to allow flexibility for groups with limited margin to meet for 90 minutes and for other groups to do more as desired. We just ask that a minimum of 30 minutes happens for each: Table, Word, and Prayer. Some do 30, 30, 30. Some do 45-60, 30-45, 30ish. A few even do 60, 60, 60 and go half the day! It just depends on what's best for each group and how they develop a groove that works for them!

What if I missed the Sunday sermon or didn't fill out any answers on the Sermon Guide? Can I still go to Life Group?
Yes, absolutely! Whether you were there, listened, or watched, or didn't, you are missed every time you're not there! Go to Life Group, “praypared” or not. If you wanna catch up and you weren't there for the Sunday morning worship service, on every Sunday afternoon, the sermon is uploaded on the app (under "Watch") and on

What’s the life cycle of a Life Group, in terms of size, longevity, open, closed, etc.?
When a Life Group begins, it may only have 4-6 people, but we expect that group to begin meeting weekly, do the normal LG thing, while praying for new group members and inviting new FCCers to join them! While some groups stay together for a long time, generally a group should be praying for a couple/few of its members/couple to eventually launch a new one.

In the phrase “consistent connection,” how consistent need the connection be, in practical terms, to make a Life Group work?
We’ve heard people “swear” they gave a Life Group “a good try” and that it just “didn’t work for them,” only to find that their try was 2-3 times, in the span of 2-3 months. While this next question may sound a bit harsh, it’s just real life in a fallen world: Have you honestly ever developed any meaningful relationship in your life by meeting 2-3 times?! We’ve found that groups that meet less than weekly are doing it “weakly” and shouldn’t expect the kind of connection and care that we all need!

How do I get into a group?
Let us know on the Connect Card (also available on each Sunday's Worship Guide or on the app) and some combination of Chris Oakes (Life Groups Director) and your Campus Pastor, will get in touch with you to begin developing a game plan.

How do I become a Host, Apprentice, or Leader?
First, read the next section. If you'd like to discuss what's involved, next steps, etc., let us know here and some combination of Chris Oakes, Life Groups Director, and your Campus Pastor, will get in touch with you.

Read Some Stories of Personal Growth and Care in Life Groups

Each Life Group is led by "HAL":

Host, who coordinates time, place, and food. (FCC membership not required.)

Apprentice, who works under the Leader, in a mentoring relationship, as part of our FCC Leadership Pipeline, to learn to shepherd a group well, with a view toward starting another group when ready. (FCC membership not required.)

Leader, who serves as the main Life Group leader, facilitates discussion of the Study Guide, leads prayer time, and is tasked with spiritual oversight and pastoral care for the group. (FCC membership required; Re:gen strongly encouraged as it is our church's method and vocabulary for disciplemaking and soul care.)

Note: Apprentices and Leaders attend the trainings noted  below, under the direction of our Campus Pastors and Chris Oakes, Director of Life Groups. Hosts need not attend, though they are certainly encouraged/allowed, to learn our vision for Life Groups.

3 Training & Support Environments for Life Group Leaders:

Leadership Life Group — Learn before launching! We show you how to lead a Life Group that will nurture an environment of connection, growth, and care. We give you practical handles for becoming an awesome Life Group Leader. (Required for any Apprentice not already in a Life Group. Takes 4 weeks.)

• Relationship with Campus Pastors — Our Campus Pastors are the Life Group Coaches for their respective campus, which means they initiate the development of becoming the primary leadership and support resource for our Life Group Leaders—meeting together at least a couple times a year, touching base when needed, and keeping ongoing connection to equip Life Group Leaders.

Leader Training Meetings — Occasionally our leaders gather, pray, share some pro tips, and learn how to lead a healthy group. (Suggested for Hosts. Required for Apprentices and Leaders.)

Next Steps — We require all Hosts, Apprentices, and Life Group Leaders to go through Next Steps. In fact, a Life Group Leader is essentially that group’s Next Steps Helper.

Life Group Leader Resources: