Life Together course
Life Together is a Livability training course that equips you to connect with your community. In five sessions delivered over ten weeks, our experienced facilitators help groups to bring together their personal experiences, community development practice and theological reflection. The course encourages participants to put their learning into practice with experiments between sessions, and enables groups to plan strategically for their next steps in community engagement.
For more information, contact the team.
What is Life Together?Life Together is a course that enables churches to go about community work differently. It helps churches respond to local needs and opportunities ‘together and with’ the local neighbourhood to achieve true participation.
Livability’s strengths based approach uses creative tools grounded in tried-and-tested ideas and relevant theology. It helps Christian groups engage effectively with their communities, discovering new possibilities together.
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Who is it for?Life Together is for any group who are looking to renew their approach to community activity. Congregations may already be active in their communities or may just be considering getting involved for the first time. The course can be tailored to address the needs of each group.
What’s included?In five sessions delivered over ten weeks, Life Together uses prayer, discussion, presentation, group exercises, creative activities and multi-media elements to nurture your understanding of Christian community engagement.
Designed to be accessible and engaging, each two-hour session is structured in four stages: Experience, Exploration, Reflection, Response (Green, Let’s Do Theology, 2009). A workbook with space for journaling accompanies the course.The five sessions are:
Session 1: Getting our bearingsGroups explore the concept of ‘community’. Each person reflects on their history and experience of community engagement, their current relation to the community and their motivations for getting involved.
Session 2: Following God into our community part 1Groups focus on different approaches to community engagement and discuss the difference between focusing primarily on the needs in a community and choosing to focus first on its strengths and gifts.
Session 3: Following God into our community part 2Groups consider the ways in which our Christian beliefs shape our approach to community engagement. They draw on the Bible and the Christian tradition to reflect on understandings of, and responses to, poverty.
Session 4: Taking in the sceneryGroups listen to different groups of people within their communities and are given an opportunity to try out the Conversation Café as a specific listening tool.
Session 5: Building kingdom communitiesGroups use a model called Appreciative Inquiry to celebrate their progress in community engagement and look with courage and hope to the future. It includes creating an action plan of the next steps in getting involved in their community.
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The thinking behind 'Life Together'Why Christian community development? We believe that God is at work in his world, usually in the most unexpected places and people. Amazingly, he invites us to join him in loving mercy and doing justice, as we humbly walk alongside him. With eyes to see and ears to hear, we can learn to spot him at work, seeing afresh that everyone is made in his image and is loved by him. Each individual and community reveals something of the nature of God and his purposes that are rooted in Shalom: the restored relationship between each other, the earth and God, through Jesus.
Our approach: seeing the gift first. We recognise that much of our culture’s engagement in community life is focused on the need, or lack, of those experiencing poverty. This also shapes the ways that churches seek to connect with their neighbourhoods. We want to join with others taking a different approach, starting with an intentional focus on the gifts and strengths in churches and communities and seeking to enable people to build on their strengths and use them for the common good.
What kind of training works? Life Together was developed in response to our research into the kinds of training that Christians involved in their communities found most helpful. In the research we discovered that the most useful training was:
- Delivered locally and shaped by the local situation
- Focused on helping people to reflect on their experiences of community involvement to learn from them
- Holistic, in that it contained spirituality and Biblical reflection as well as practical skills. The ‘why’ as well as the ‘how’ and the ‘what’
- A journey, with time to think and try things out along the way
How the course will help your church build communityLife Together facilitators will take a flexible approach and tailor the course to your context regardless of whether you are new or experienced in community involvement. Our facilitators can help your church to:
- Evaluate your community involvement, seeing what’s good and where new approaches would improve your impact
- Learn from examples of best practice to develop ideas for new ways of working
- Develop skills in listening that help build transformative community relationships
- Engage in Biblical reflection that integrates discipleship with practical mission
- Think through your hopes and dreams for community engagement and shape an action plan to move things forward
What's the cost and what's included?The course is focused on helping people to understand the importance of positive and meaningful relationships and we want to model this ourselves. The course is deliberately not something bought “off the shelf” and is not available online, since our underlying approach is to engage directly with people face to face. We want to be part of your journey and support you in delivering the course and helping participants on their journey.n
nWe train people to lead the course and it is then possible for them to adapt it to their context and run it in their community.n
nAnyone can train to be a Happiness Course leader. It involves learning the course material, recruiting people to come to your course, and facilitating the group sessions. You don’t need to be a church leader, but having the support of a church or community group can be a great help when getting started.n
nThe training day will equip you to run Livability’s Happiness Course in your community. A typical training day will include:
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- Course content and structure n t
- An understanding of ‘Shalom’, the Biblical idea of wellbeing n t
- Exploring positive psychology and the scientific research about wellbeing n t
- Practical help and tips on how to deliver the course in different contexts and communities n t
- An opportunity to practice and develop training skills n
nEveryone who delivers the course has to be trained and licensed by Livability. By attending the course you will get a license that gives you access to course materials and ongoing support while you run the course.n
nLicensing course leaders helps us to maintain consistency of teaching, provide ongoing support, and use feedback to update and improve the course. Knowing our leaders means that we can share stories and experience between leaders and show our funders that the course is working.n
nLicenses cost £100 and last for two years when it can be renewed. Extra leaders from the same church or group can be licensed for an additional £50.
Upcoming training events
If you’d like more information, please click here to contact the course co-ordinator →