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How are Inspire Fellowship Bands Distinctive?

Back in 2007, when Inspire was first formally launched, we were the only organization promoting fellowship bands in the Wesleyan spirit. Today, there are a few approaches to band-like groups being supported, which is good news for the kingdom. Those that stick closest to the original approach in early Methodism tend to be shaped by questions which have a particular focus on the confession of sin, as a means to seeking forgiveness and growth in grace. Confession, forgiveness and growth are important dynamics in Inspire bands, but our focus is on how to live as Missional Disciples in an increasingly post-Christian world. The goal of our fellowship bands is simple: becoming disciples who abide deeply with God and live missionally in the world. The means are also simple: holding spiritual conversation as guides for one another along the way. The ethos is even simpler: spiritual friendship that penetrates the depths of mutual openness, honesty and trust. Inspire Fellowship Bands are not bible studies. They are not accountability groups. They are not therapy sessions. And they are not theological discussion groups. They are about meeting with Jesus and following the lead of his Spirit in daily life. Period.

Why Missional Discipleship?

Missional Discipleship is for anyone who is hungry for more of God: Those who want to grow in love of God and neighbor; those who want to abide deeply with God and live missionally in the world; those who want the Spirit-filled life; those who want to lead people to Jesus in natural ways; those who want to see the kingdom of God breaking into their everyday lives and transform the world about them.

What is the Inspire “Way of Life”?

The Inspire Way of Life describes the ingredients of Missional Discipleship. It is recognizable as the DNA of Wesleyan spirituality, but it really describes the life of Jesus, and what it means to follow him. Some might call it a “rule” of life, but we like “Way” because Jesus is the Way, and scripture says we are people of the Way! This Way of Life includes: seeking growth in the love of God; using spiritual disciplines as means of grace; investing in spiritual friendships; and engaging in everyday mission. We hold one another accountable to this Way in Fellowship Bands, and this fourfold pattern shapes the practices of our House Fellowship and training in Learning Community.

Why Meet in a Fellowship Band?

Being a follower of Jesus, and investing in his Way of Life, is not something he asks his disciples to do alone. Jesus brought twelve together and called them friends. He also invested in three: Peter, James and John. Inspire Fellowship Bands are about gathering with two or three close friends, journeying together with Jesus, for mutual support and spiritual guidance. They help us keep on track and grow in faithfulness as Missional Disciples.

What Sort of Conversation do Bands Have?

Inspire Fellowship Bands promote spiritual conversation among close friends. The goal is to help one another draw closer to Jesus, and grow in our relationship with his Spirit. There is no curriculum for band meetings other than our daily experience of discipleship, and our conversation is about discerning how Jesus is with us and leading us in everyday life. In order to do this, we hold ourselves accountable to the Inspire Way of Life, and we have some helpful questions to guide our reflection, both personally and as a group.

How Will Band Help Me Live Missionally?

Mission begins with the Great Commandment, to love God and neighbor. Jesus told us to fulfill this commandment in the Great Commission, by making disciples of all people. But in order to make disciples, you need to be a disciple; since you cannot share what you do not have. Missional Disciples are ordinary people being filled, transformed and overflowing with love of God and neighbor. Fellowship Bands encourage us to become like Jesus, by growing in his Way of Life. And they encourage us to be sent like Jesus, by sharing the gospel in word and deed in our everyday lives. They are a natural context for learning how to talk about God and share our faith with others in natural ways.

What is the Commitment to a Fellowship Band?

Visit our Fellowship Band page for an introductory summary of questions like: “Who?”, “How Many?”, “How Often?” and “How Long?” etc!

Why Connect my Band with Inspire?

There are many advantages of belonging to a growing Movement of people, churches and organizations that share the same adventure of Missional Discipleship. Inspire is an international and inter-denominational movement, with a lot of shared wisdom and resources. The Inspire Movement provides excellent training, and Inspire Missioners are always available for mentoring, guidance and support.

Can Fellowship Bands Help With Church Planting and/or Renewal?

Yes! The church is a community of Missionary Disciples, who make and grow disciples. The Way of Life, and meeting in Fellowship Bands, can provide a healthy rhythm for House Fellowships and other missional communities. Any church plant needs core community of Missional Disciples, and meeting in band helps to nurture this essential spirituality. House Fellowship is key to planting New Testament style “organic church”, and Fellowship Bands help nurture those who can lead it. Our approach to renewal means starting a movement of Missional Discipleship within the life of the church that is catalyzed by Fellowship Bands and House Fellowships.

How do Fellowship Bands Connect with House Fellowships?

Fellowship Bands and House Fellowships together help people to grow as Missional Disciples, with close spiritual friendships and as extended Christian family. We grow together on the journey of discipleship and learn how to invite others along. Long experience has taught us that House Fellowships are most fruitful when they are led by people in Fellowship Bands, and Fellowship Bands are enriched when people work out their discipleship in the context of House Fellowship. In short, there is a healthy rhythm between Fellowship Bands and House Fellowship, and developing a sustainable rhythm is key to our discipleship.

Are House Fellowships the Same as Small Groups?

Depending on your context, “small groups” can mean a lot of different things. If you’ve been in the kind of small group that meets in home, and maybe had dinner together, then that’s a starting point! If you’ve been in small groups that followed a particular curriculum, bible study, or other church resource, Inspire House Fellowship will probably be a new experience for you. Our Fellowships do not follow a program or curriculum, but they are shaped by core practices and rhythms. Our fellowship is more organic than most small groups, as every meeting is shaped by what members bring and share, from food to praise and study. Although each meeting has a familiar underlying pattern, the Spirit can take us in different directions on any occasion. It is quite different from, and much more enjoyable than, a typical small group within a rigid church program.

Why Do I Need House Fellowship as Well as My Church?

House Fellowship is a means of grace that helps people grow as Missional Disciples within any community of believers. They can be another rhythm that help us become more like Jesus. Unless a House Fellowship is part of a church plant, they will meet in the middle of the week, and can be included in a rhythm of gathering that includes more traditional Sunday worship and other church programs. We encourage members of House Fellowships to keep attending their home church, and so groups can have the benefit of bringing people from different churches together.

What Commitment is Required for House Fellowship?

Visit our House Fellowship page for an introductory summary of questions like: “Who?”, “How Many?”, “How Often?” and “How Long?” etc!

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