Community Groups (pt. 2) - What?
Our Community Groups at Redeemer Fellowship are vital for life and health of our church. We strongly encourage involvement in these groups because this is where a majority of the growth happens. These weekly meetings is where we practice the "one another's" of Scripture. But what is the goal of the groups? The way we talk about it at Redeemer is like this: A community group is a small group of people, generally 5 - 15, that cultivate biblical, gospel-centered, and missional relationships. Here's what we mean by that.
By biblical, we mean these relationships are truly knowing and serving one another based on the principles of Scripture. While most meetings include Bible study and prayer, that is not the point. The point is to put into practice among ourselves what the Bible says. These meeting then, become a safe environment where believers can work our their faith struggles and non-beleivers get a glimpse what faith looks like.
When life is looked through the lens of Scripture, it starts to make sense. With the help of others, believers see they aren't alone in what they are dealing with, and growth of faith is possible. Nonbelievers see Jesus's sacrificial and radical love on display in His people.
The goal of these groups is to demonstrate how all of life can be gospel-centered. This means that all of life is looked at through the lens of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It's only through the gospel (and being centered on it) that the dead find life, the guilty find forgiveness, and the slave finds freedom.
By helping each other stay gospel-centered, we find the things we are ultimately striving for: peace, rest, hope and joy. We find these in the only place it can be found, in Jesus. We often look for these things anywhere else besides Jesus. We also let our circumstances determine what we think about God. We need each other if we ever hope to be gospel-centered.
We can't do it alone, we need each other. We need each other to see our sin more clearly. We need each other to help see beyond our circumstances to our identity in Christ. We need each other to walk along side each other in such a way that both grow.
To be missional means that we recognize that we are sent into our culture to reflect Christ. We are called to serve the community, not just the community of faith, but the community at large as well. Being missional means looking for ways, as a group, to share the gospel in the the culture we find ourselves in; whether that's the city, the suburbs, rural, or sometimes even cross culturally. We are called to make disciples, and often times that is done by building relationships in the community through serving.
Our Community Groups exist to do life together in such a way that not only are our lives impacted, but we are also having kingdom influence on the world around us. In my next post I'll deal with the "how" of Community Groups.