For everything you need to know to be able to lead through this guide, here is a helpful podcast from Frontline South Community Director Brandon Laib. Or, if you would rather read than listen, just keep scrolling…
There's so much we could say about the "why" behind counter-formation: why it's important, what the long term plan is, what we hope to accomplish... but we're not focusing on any of that here. Instead, the question we're tackling is how. If you have questions about the "why," founding pastor Josh Kouri's keynote session from Life Together 2022 is a great place to start. But, for now, let's consider how you might want to approach the rollout of the Counter-Formation Guide as a community group leader.
First, it will help you to do a bit of pre-work. If we're going to get the most out of the Counter-Formation Guide, we need to go in with a plan, so here are three things to think through ahead of time:
- Decide on the setting. Will your group engage these training sessions during Family Meal gatherings or in Discipleship Groups? How you answer that question will likely depend on the makeup of your group, and there's really no "right" answer—you'll have to discern which setting works best for your group. Is it at the family meal or in discipleship groups?
- Pick a start date. For context, the guide contains four training sessions, and the hope is that your group would work through these sessions together as a community group over the course of eight weeks. So, for example, if you decide to have your group gather for counter-formation at the Family Meal, then it'll happen when you gather on the first and third week of the month, for a total of two months. You'll have several months to complete the module, but it's important that you decide when your group should start. If you can, look for an eight-week block without a lot of interruptions, or people traveling, etc. But regardless of where you land, think strategically, and make a plan.
- Communicate the plan. Make sure the folks in your group know what the plan is and have clear expectations. Have them mark their calendars. Tell them how to purchase a copy of the guide. Tell them why you're excited about engaging in counter-formation. If you're not excited, they won't be either.
Prepare to Facilitate
Once you've decided on a setting, a start date, and you've communicated the plan to your group, you will be ready to get going. So, next, let's consider what you can expect once you crack open the guide and get started:
- A call to worship and a Bible conversation. You will begin each session by taking time as a group to pause, pray, read, and discuss. As you do, remember that, as a leader, you don't have to do everything! Lead through each component of this guide, but encourage participation, and don't be afraid of awkward silences.
- Training video. In each session you will make use of a short, ten-minute training video where your group will hear from a Frontline pastor or a deacon. The videos can be found at frontlinechurch.com/formation. If you are technologically impaired, this would be a really good time for you to tap in a tech-savvy guy or gal in your group and let them help you out. I would recommend figuring this out ahead of time, so you're able to just hit play and not interrupt the flow of the session. So make sure before you gather that you have the right equipment—a smart TV or other device that you can cast to, or even just a laptop or iPad if you'll be viewing it in discipleship groups—and go ahead and have it queued up before folks arrive. It's not the end of the world if you hit a snag, but things tend to flow smoother when you've put in the work ahead of time.
- Discussion questions. We think the content of the training videos will stir up some good conversation, so spend time leaning in to the accompanying discussion questions as a group.
- Exercise. Each session will also contain some form of exercise to help your group people apply the concepts they heard in the training session to the real stuff of their everyday lives.
- Benediction. Each session concludes with a benediction, or blessing from Scripture, that's provided in the guide.
And that's it for the time you will spend working through the guide as a group. The Counter-Formation Guide also contains 40 daily liturgies for you and those in your group to work through individually over the course of those same eight weeks, and that's all right there in the guide, so just make sure that everyone is aware of that as well. If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to your hub leader or community director for clarification or help.