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The series are set up to accommodate 26 studies every year for 4 years.
Phase 1 we suggest offering two starting times in a year (Fall and Winter), however the second time we offer it we only cover the first 13 weeks. It is good to have at least 2 groups each year so that the groups can mix a little for Phase 2 and future phases.
We typically close off each group after three weeks to new guests for a variety of reasons:
- After 3 weeks they will have missed essential concepts and it is probably best to start with the next start-up.
- After three weeks the group is starting to gel and feel comfortable with one another. If you keep adding new faces it will be difficult to establish a sense of relational safety within the group, which we feel is important for building deeper community.
We recommend that everyone starts at Phase 1 whether they are a retired pastor or a skeptic walking in from the street. There are numerous reasons for this.
- It puts everyone on the same page.
- People never know as much as they think they know.
- Many people who thought they were Christians discover they were not.
- Everyone learns how to present the gospel to their friends.
- Skeptics need to be around other believers where they can see spirituality modelled and applied.
- Believers need to be around skeptics to hear afresh their questions and perspectives.
- Everyone learns something in each phase no matter how long they have been saved.
- This policy means we don’t have to keep guessing which phase the person should really be in, especially when people think they should be in a higher phase than they ought to be.
- Everyone who initially felt insulted by starting at Phase 1 said afterward it was the best thing they could have done.
- Everyone needs to be able to teach the content to others.