LED groups are about light. They’re designed to “light up” your life by developing closer relationships with a small group of other people and with God. Groups meet six times. Each meeting lasts between 90 minutes and two hours. An optional seventh meeting gives group members an opportunity to introduce the LED group concept to their friends and family. These invited guests are given an opportunity to join the next LED group. This pattern of group life and reproduction continues generation after generation. Friends, relatives, associates and neighbors of those in the last group form the next group thereby bringing light and blessings to ever widening webs of relationships.
LED is for people who want a closer relationship with God and others. Not everyone wants to go there. Therefore, those who drop out after the first, second or any other meeting won’t be pressured to continue. Not everyone is ready for LED.
The group decides both when and where meetings will occur. There’s lots of flexibility. It’s ideal if meetings can be held during consecutive weeks, but sometimes that’s not possible. A group might meet in a local church, in the home of one of its members, or in some public place at a time that fits the schedules of its members.
LED groups can benefit both those who already feel close to God and those who’d like to. Usually, these two categories of people don’t attend the same group. Having separate groups for those who already feel close to God frees seekers to ask questions without fearing they’ll sound "dumb” to those who’ve been around the Christian faith for a long time. We’ll talk more about questions later.
One of the best ways to get to know others is to share a meal together. The E in LED stands for eating together! What’s on the menu varies widely from group to group. Each group decides for itself. Members of a church might prepare food for groups that meet in its facility. Other options include eating dessert only, having pizza delivered, or each member of the group bringing something for the meal. Use your imagination, but keep the menu fairly simple.
As we eat, we’ll be talking. We’ll get to know one another better by sharing our opinions, passions and parts of our life-journeys. We’ll be listening while others do the same. We’ll see glimpses of one another’s hearts and hear parts of our life-stories. We all want to be loved for who we are. LED gives us an opportunity to open the drapes to who we are and what we value. It helps us know one another and be known. Food and fellowship will be the first thing we do at each LED group meeting. We’ll take turns answering ice-breaker questions like, “What do you do for fun?” and “Tell us in one to two minutes about the best vacation you ever had.” The E in LED stands for eating together.
The L in LED represents learning together. William Butler Yeats said, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” How is that fire, that passion to discover the truth, lit?
It happens mysteriously as we share our still under construction ideas with each other, and struggle within and among ourselves to identify and grasp the truth. Some peoples’ beliefs are like concrete—all mixed up and set. By contrast, LED is about seeking the truth together. We must separate the wheat (truth) from the straw and chaff (lies and half-truths). It takes concentrated effort and humility. If what we now believe isn’t true [and all of us have some beliefs that aren’t!], we need humility to want to know it and to change.
Our beliefs aren’t 100% wheat with no straw or chaff whatsoever. LED isn’t for “know-it-alls.” Dr. Kenneth Kantzer said, “We know some things out of many; and what we know, we know only in part.” Our interaction with others’ ideas will help us separate the chaff and straw from the wheat. Our goal isn’t to thresh others’ beliefs, but to purify our own. One underlying assumption in LED is that the God of the Bible and the Bible itself can be trusted as faithful sources of truth for faith and life.
Grasping the truth and living according to it empowers us to live in the light instead of the darkness. It’s no small thing. No less an authority than Jesus himself said, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). We’re meeting to equip each other to live the rest of our lives wisely and freely. We’re looking beyond the smoke and mirrors of appearances to the underlying core of the way life really is. The goal of LED is to live in the light according to the truth. This isn’t a once and done exercise to be sure. But hundreds of millions of people down through the centuries point to connecting with the God and words of the Bible as the turning point of their lives. I’m one of them. The story of that connection is described in the first week’s content focus, “God Created You for a Purpose.” Each of us can respond to or reject the God who seeks us. The consequences of responding vs. rejecting are far-reaching.
The content for learning together is called Life’s Ultimate Question. The first week’s focus is “God Created You for a Purpose.” In subsequent weeks we will study, “Jesus is Unique,” “You Can Trust the Bible,” “All Religions Aren’t Equal,” “Good People Don’t Go to Heaven,” and “Believing God Exists Isn’t Enough.” Scattered throughout each of these studies are questions we’ll respond to as we encounter them. The goal is to get closer to God, one another, and the truth each week. Each LED group member will have a copy of Life’s Ultimate Question.
The D in LED represents the other component of LED groups –discussing life together. Leo Szilard said, “A scientist's aim in a discussion with his colleagues is not to persuade, but to clarify.” Our discussions together will help clarify the truth and how we can live according to it.
What will we discuss? Part of what we’ll discuss is guided, but most isn’t. What questions do you have concerning God, the Bible, and Christianity? We’ll focus our questions on those areas. To get us started, each week we’ll consider a question that people often ask about the Christian faith. The first week we’ll consider, “Does life have a purpose or goal?” The second week we’ll think about “How do we know God exists?” The third, “Why does God allow suffering and evil?” The fourth, “Did Jesus Christ Rise from the dead?” The fifth week, we’ll think about “Is Jesus God?” The sixth, we’ll focus on “Is Jesus the only way to God?”
After considering the question of the week, we’ll open up the floor to whatever questions group members want to ask. It’s probable the leader of the LED group won’t have a good or even a fair answer to many questions immediately. He/she will need to do some research. If group members write down their questions the first meeting as much as they can, that will give all the members of the group time to think about them for a while. Thought-through answers are almost always better than spur-of-the-moment responses.
So LED is about learning together about the God of the Bible and his ways, eating together and discussing life together. I’m confident that participating in these six meetings will equip many to live the rest of their lives differently and better.