Networks are groups of people within the membership of the church. They are not mid-week meetings. It’s important for people to be able to belong as part of a network, even if they are never able to attend a network meeting.
Within networks, informal gatherings of two or three for prayer, or a meal with a couple of people, or an e-mail or phone call to stay connected are also important parts of our shared life. Everyone who is a member of the church ought to belong to a network – this is how we encourage one another in our faith.
Networks are the church, not an activity of it. All the aspects of a church’s life – worship, shaping our lives around God’s Word, praying for our world, ministry to one another, sharing our faith with others – should be part of a network’s life. In this respect, we expect networks to be a fuller expression of ‘church’ than Sunday morning. It’s important, therefore, that networks retain an outwards focus – each network should aspire to live out its faith within its community.
Network groups are life groups, not study groups. A good grasp of what the Bible means is important – it is ordinarily provided for in sermons on a Sunday morning. A grasp of what the Bible means to me is essential. The challenge of Christian discipleship is not knowledge, but application. The task of network groups in the part of their meeting where they share how their lives are going (the ‘Bible’ or ‘Word’ part) is to take the Scripture and honestly evaluate our lives in the light of it, and encourage one another in our growth in holiness, and to feedback to one another (hold each other accountable) as the weeks go by.