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How to Kick-start Your MLD Group During a Pandemic

Posted by Jennifer Gerelds with Care Net’s Church Initiative Team on Aug 28, 2020 7:00:00 AM

 

Covid-19 may have disrupted our ability to gather together in person, but the obstacle has an upside: it is forcing many people to connect virtually. And virtual connections are working in some amazing ways, particularly in spiritual arenas. Because of platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Free Conference Call, etc., our groups no longer need to be limited by proximity. In fact, we can reach others all around the city, state, country, and even the world—right from our own computer. And this is a beautiful reality for leading others through Making Life Disciples (MLD). Additionally, because the entire training series is currently available online FOR FREE, access has never been easier. If you’re thinking about leading your own MLD group this season, just follow one or more of these simple steps and watch how God can use you to equip His church for life, even during these uncertain times.

  1. Call and invite family, friends, pastors, teachers, and anyone else God puts on your heart to participate with you in training.

  2. Send them an email that contains a link to the free MLD course site.

  3. Create a texting group on your phone using apps like GroupMe or Slack. Communicate each week’s assignments which they can complete on their own time during the week. For example: “This week we will discuss all of section 1 from Session 2. Please be ready with questions or comments about it when we meet on Wednesday.” As the leader, you can set the pace for how fast or slow you want to go through the different sessions.

  4. Send a Zoom link that contains directions for setting up a Zoom account (or whatever kind of online meeting format you choose.) On the day of the meeting, you may want to send a reminder text to the group.

  5. During the COVID-19 crisis, RightNow media has also made a limited library available to anyone for free (many churches have subscriptions that give full access to their streaming content). You can stream all of the videos from Making Life Disciples through their service and are even able to do “group watching.” See this support article for more details and access the MLD Course HERE.

  6. For the first meeting, introduce yourself and others. Explain the goal for the group and how it will work. Show them this introductory video to cast the vision and motivate them to stay connected with your group throughout the training. Explain how each person will become a certified Making Life Disciples mentor at the conclusion of the course if they complete the assignments. And most importantly, pray! Pray for the group and for all the lives who will be touched through your teams’ willingness to reach out to the hurting.

  7. Assign next week’s homework from the online course. Another option for those groups who don’t want to view the videos on their own, Zoom offers a way to share your screen with the group. Simply share your screen (if sharing a video ensure that you check the small box that allows audio to also be heard) as you go through the online training segment and then discuss the questions following each section.

  8. For practice and deeper application, consider pairing up the participants to practice the material through role-playing during the week. This is especially helpful in Session 3 where instruction is given on how to best communicate with someone facing an unplanned pregnancy. Each can take turns being the counselor and counselee as they work through what they would say and how best to say it. Then everyone can discuss challenges and insights at the next online meeting.

  9. Encourage the group to stay connected through the GroupMe or Slack app throughout the week, sharing any prayer requests, insights, and encouragement they’ve received that week.

  10. At the conclusion of the course, plan a virtual or in-person party, if possible. Consider inviting the executive director from your local pregnancy center. Congratulate your team on what they’ve accomplished, and explain what the Next Steps for building a culture of life in their church can be. Mail or hand out their personalized certificates. And ask: Who would be interested in leading another MLD group?

  11. Try one of these hands-on bonus ideas to seize on the fresh inspiration and learnings in your group: 
    • Reach out to and schedule a tour of your local pregnancy center. (See Step 2 of the Next Steps document for more on this.)
    • Plan a visit to the closest abortion clinic where you can gather to pray for the women going inside, their preborn babies, the fathers, abortion workers, security guards, and even the police (a local 40 Days for Life group could be consulted). Abortion clinics are a mission field where your participants will have the opportunity to apply in real life what they’ve learned through the training. Your members will grow through prayer, obedience, engaging in spiritual warfare, and celebrating the victories when a mom chooses life and allows you to connect her with trained and supportive members of your church and the local pregnancy care center.

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