Listen Curriculum Helps Reunite Congregation
Though physically located in Pomona, California, Charisma Life is a global church due to its five language services and online presence. Regular attendance at Charisma Life Church is around 700 people representing 28 different ethnicities. In addition, people from the United States and 42 other countries are beginning to join the online life groups overseen by the various staff pastors at Charisma Life.
"I first heard about Bible Engagement Project (BEP) and the Listen curriculum when I attended a Filipino-American fellowship Zoom meeting with our Assemblies of God Assistant General Superintendent Rick DuBose,” states Alan Dionson, pastor of Charisma Life Church. “I realized this would be a great way to reunite the congregations within Charisma Life Church that have been split apart since the pandemic . . . [BEP] is what our global church needed."
Charisma Life Church has services in English, Indonesian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Thai, but all of these have been disrupted because of COVID-19. Everything has been moved online.
"When we learned of the launch of BEP's Listen all-digital curriculum available for every age group, we realized that it could be the way to reconnect our people from kids to adults," Dionson says. Every age group in the local church can engage in the Word of God using Listen materials without fear of the virus.
Dionson’s leadership team is divided into seven geographical districts, each overseen by a district pastor who leads a team for that particular demographic. District pastors also oversee five to seven life groups of 10 to 15 people each. Online life groups have been the lifeline of Charisma Life Church during the pandemic, with nearly 60% of congregants (about 380 people) remaining connected in this way.
Once weekly, Dionson gathers these district pastors into "prototypes" — a small group of their own in which they pray over and go through the curriculum that will be implemented in the coming weeks.
"This is our life group, and we work through lessons together so that the district pastors can teach the lessons to their teams who will teach the rest of the people," explains Dionson. "We can't really lead if we haven't been transformed by what we're learning in the Word of God."
The prototype groups began making their way through Listen, the first 40 weeks of Bible Engagement Project curriculum, and on the last Sunday in September, they kicked off a four-week promotional campaign introducing their church to Bible Engagement Project.
"Bible Engagement Project is a blessing to this diverse church," Dionson says, "because, in a sense, it's plug-and-play: it comes with graphics, promotional material, small-group leader training, and all materials in-app, so I don't have to go print anything for all my small group leaders; I just send them a link to download the app, and they have what they need."
The purpose of the Bible Engagement Project, funded by AGTrust partners, is to bring to the AG Fellowship a new emphasis on studying the Bible and its principles.
LEAD PHOTO: Charisma Life Church in Pomona, California, averaged 700 people representing 28 different ethnicities in their services prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.