This is an annual membership for dioceses providing materials needed to start a diocesan program and access to congregations for the study materials.
In most cases, LifeCycles is used as the formation process for mutual ministry teams which will provide the primary pastoral leadership in congregations. Some members of the congregation will be ordained, others will be commissioned for leadership ministries within the congregation while others will be sent forth to carry out their ministries in their daily lives.
Only dioceses have access to the training components of this program as this work is under the direction of the bishop and Commission on Ministry. A three-year commitment is recommended for dioceses and congregations. We have learned that congregations need this time to ensure success.
The diocesan materials include:
- Materials to assist the Commission on Ministry and other diocesan leaders learn about baptismal ministry
- Congregational adult education programs, PowerPoint presentations and other materials to assist the diocese in introducing baptismal ministry to congregations
- Models of how other dioceses have implemented baptismal ministry in their congregations: COM manuals, definitions of roles, diocesan canons and procedures, etc.
- Training programs from ministries licensed by the bishop -- and several that do not require licensure (under development)
- Samples of discernment processes
Companions (mentors): Training is provided (strongly recommended but not required) for those who will serve as Companions for LifeCycles groups. Download application form: Companion Application.
LifeCycles is an faith formation program for adults that can be used as a multi-year process or each six session cycle can be used as individual adult education programs. LifeCycles is based upon the understanding that all Christians are called to, and commissioned by, baptism for participation in Christ's ministry in the world and in the church. Working through small groups, LifeCycles aims to empower all members to realize their God-given gifts and so become ever more active, articulate apostles at work in God's world, and to transform congregations to become vital, ministering communities.
In many cases, LifeCycles is used as the formation process for mutual ministry teams which will provide the primary pastoral leadership in congregations. Some members of the congregation will be ordained, others will be commissioned for leadership ministries within the congregation while others will be sent forth to carry out their ministries in their daily lives.
LifeCycles participants are excited by this small group process that:
- supports them in doing ministry
- introduces them to creative liturgy
- invites them into a deeper spiritual life
- engages them in studying the Scriptures and theology
- offers them knowledge and skills for Christian living
- gives them practical help in leading congregations
LifeCycles groups usually meet weekly for 1 1/2 to 2 hours; some groups meet less frequently for longer timeframe and may cover two sessions per meeting. The group members take turns providing worship or session leadership or hospitality. The materials are organized in units of six sessions each -- each session includes worship, the reading material and discussion questions, group activities. Each unit introduces an academic skill, a prayer method and/or a leadership skill that is practiced during that unit.
LifeCycles congregations have found their current members become more engaged in the life and ministry of the church -- both in the congregation and community. They also value the increased leadership skills, greater theological and Biblical knowledge. Some congregations have found that these small groups have attracted people who are not members of any church and who subsequently have become members of the congregation.
Education for Ministry (EfM) graduates are often well-suited to be LifeCycles companions (mentors who support the group but do not lead the sessions). LifeCycles can serve as preparation for EfM as the first Cycle is appropriate for those newer to the faith or adult education. It will also appeal to those who are unable to invest the time and money in EfM or find linear learning doesn't fit their learning style. LifeCycles uses a more experiential learning model and enforces practice of skills and learning on a weekly basis.
LifeCycles includes four Cycles, each with thirty-six sessions plus extra topical sessions. The extra sessions, in particular, can be used by other groups in the congregation and may serve as an entry point for new group members.
Price: This program is offered as a membership (annual subscription) based on the total number of congregations in a diocese. See the pricing chart by clicking on the drop-down button at the top of the page. All materials are downloadable PDF files with a license to duplicate and use in that diocese and its congregations.