Restoration Groups are a small group experience where participants are met with the redeeming love of Jesus in their deepest areas of suffering and sin.
Restoration Groups are an Australian expression of Redemption Groups, founded by Mike Wilkerson in the States. We’re sticking closely to that model and maintain relationship with Mike, but we have refined a few elements of the experience to better suit the Australian psyche. Restoration Groups has been tried and tested on our people at The Project Church, and continues to be refined and developed.
We delight in seeing God at work through the process and haven’t found a better way to walk alongside people as they invite God into all the gnarly areas of life.
Restoration Groups are usually “closed groups”. This means that select leaders and members are placed together in a group at the beginning of the cycle and they remain together without adding any one new for the duration of the group cycle.
Men and women meet together for the main teaching sessions, but then we split into groups which are either men-only or women-only.
A Restoration Group is only the beginning—or a way station—in a lifelong journey. Groups are brief, usually meeting only about ten weeks. Participants leave groups armed with new ways of seeing God and themselves, and tools for working it out over time in community.
Relational and experiential
Restoration Groups are about your life connecting with Jesus’ life in community. Participants actively engage with one another: listening, sharing, comforting, and challenging. Group discussions tend to be very candid. The experience aims to help participants grow in how they relate to God, themselves, and others with greater love and honesty.
Sin and suffering
Someone entangled in a habitual sin, like addiction, not only needs delivery from sin, but also to come face to face with a Redeemer who delivers from suffering, pain, and misery. Someone limping from the wounds of abuse is not only desperate to know the compassionate presence of Jesus, but is also in great need of the Word, which discerns the sinful intentions that turn a wounded heart into a wounding heart. Our sins and sufferings are inextricably interwoven and Jesus redeems it all.
Group size and composition
A single Restoration Group is ideally composed of eight people, total. That’s two co-leaders, one apprentice, and five participants. A supervisor may occasionally sit in a group, making a ninth person in the room.
Restoration Group curriculum follows the story of Exodus, with the Israelites journeying through the wilderness from slavery to freedom. Along the way, again and again, we encounter our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. The curriculum is the book Redemption: Freed by Jesus from the Idols We Worship and the Wounds We Carry.
Restoration Groups are designed to include people with problems of all kinds in a single group. So, in a group of women, one woman may be hurting with the wounds of past abuse, another may be battling a pornography addiction, another may have a troubled marriage, and another may be experiencing symptoms of depression.