Understanding why we do groups from a Gospel perspective is paramount to how groups function. Community Life is living with each other within this broken world. People are broken, and therefore our meeting together will always be in the context of brokenness, no matter how “mature” you might expect others or yourself to be.
This brings us to a Mission Statement: Mission statements have a tendency to be boring. Our hope is that this mission will inspire you and give you clear direction!
In crafting a statement we worked through three questions:
What are the conflicts that exists that make Community Life important?
What would be the destination for participants in Community Life?
What are the stakes if people don’t engage in Community Life?
Life is hard and without each other we don’t thrive.
The Fall: We are made for Community, being created in God’s image and as is represented in the relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The fall has lead to broken relationships and people can be scared of being close to people.
Christians are disobedient to the commands and examples for discipleship and fellowship if they don’t have a community they are connected to. The life of Jesus Christ represents a life of sacrifice and joy that involves community that Community Life attempts to emulate.
Many people can feel like they don’t belong or are not known by people within the church or in general.
Without each other when we fail we have no one to pick us up.
Without each other we don’t receive the encouragement to be built up in Christ and pursue his Kingdom.
Destination: We create spaces through Community Life for the following…
To be known and belong
To be held accountable
To have a place to share hurts and struggles
To have spiritual formation
To be in the lives of other Christians
To learn to and to engage the community around us
The Stakes: When Christians neglect or are without the community God commands, they are giving up two huge blessings Christ promised.
Joy - Christ desires his followers have joy and satisfaction in life. This comes from following him in the ways of his kingdom. John 16:24-17:13
Power - Christ gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit to empower us in this life for our own growth and sanctification and the power to help and serve other people. John 14:12-26
Based on this mission statement and the broken world we all live within, we see the following 3 characteristics as essential for our leaders to promote and each group to experience.
We make people feel needed and a part of the group.
We create an intentional space to focus on our walks with the Lord. This provides encouragement and accountability to both making disciples and being a disciple.
We are commited to serving other people and intentional about helping people grow spiritually.We are committed to serving others and being a blessing to the community around us.
We stay in touch - connect with your people throughout the week and stay connected to their lives. When we are together, we make sure we speak and listen to everyone.
We are disciplined - we make our own spiritual walks a priority and as a group we are intentional to stay in the word and keep each other accountable to this.
We bless others - always seeking to be a blessing to the hurting around us.
Our lives are telling a story, and like any good story there, are elements to it.
There is a Problem or an Antagonist, a Hero, and a Guide.
The Problem: Remember the last session about the Gospel? Our story in the context of the fall is crucial for us to understand our problem and the problem of others. The fall has created many broken and hurting people that are selfish and scared by other people. If they aren't scared they can typically be overpowering and controlling. This makes for a pretty messy small group experience! It can be hard to get into the lives of others; it can also be hard practically to make time for it. Many Christians don't live in community with each other or with Jesus and therefore never really know the joy of walking with Him or helping others walk with Him. If we allow the fall to rule our lives, we will not fight for the community we need. Devoting time to help others grow is easily neglected.
The Hero: Jesus Christ is and always will be the hero in our story. He isn't just someone who helped us out of being damned for eternity but He rescues, protects, comforts, and provides for us each day along with the Father and the Holy Spirit. So that, together, we experience joy and power in the Gospel.
The Guide: You are the guide! Let me say that again; you are the guide in this story. You are the one that is following Jesus in His method and ministry of reconciliation by taking time out of your weekly schedules in order to push people to Jesus. Community Life gives people a family on mission to belong to.
Let’s get practical! Deep Spirituality takes intentionality! What does a Community Group feel like? What does a leader do each time? Where do you meet? What about kids?