The Harmon’s have been invested in the idea of community groups for many years. During
my early years of ministry I bought into the concept and it has remained a regular
expression of our church life. Nevertheless we have come across folks who were reluctant
toward community groups for many reasons. If you find yourself unsettled and uninvolved
with community groups hopefully this post will provide clarity for the function and support of
groups at New Life.
1. Community Groups foster close relationships.
As a student of church history and particularly the rise of the early church, it is important to recognize the powerful role of community within the lives of the believers. It is also critical to understand that churches did not meet in a common building until about 300 years after the death of Christ. As a result Christians would gather in homes, share a common meal, and study the Bible. Today the home environment continues to foster an atmosphere conducive for the establishment of close relationships. Personal needs are easily identified and people are eager to meet those needs. During my ministry I have noticed the relational connections formed outside the walls of the church building are the relationships that grow stronger over time. The community groups at New Life are designed to help foster those relationships.
2. Community Groups provide an introduction to the Christian faith.
I can remember a time when church leaders expressed the importance of inviting your non-churched friends to a Sunday service as a method of evangelism. I’m not opposed to inviting friends to church and perhaps there was a day when the Sunday morning invitation was the best method. However a quick google search will provide an unending number of articles identifying reasons people are not interested in attending a Sunday morning church events. Community groups are more than just a religious event. I have seen community groups become a place where people share life together. This honestly takes intentionality and much prayer but community groups can provide a great introduction to the Christian faith. Inviting people without faith to a Community Group provides a lab like experience for them to watch others live out their faith, witness the power of prayer, and learn more about the Bible. The non-believer is also more likely to ask questions, get answers, and form relationships with the believers.
3. Community Groups allow for mutual edification among believers.
It’s easy to depend on the professionals to give us our spiritual food. However according to the Bible, God gives spiritual gifts to all believers. Remember the spiritual gifts God has given you are for the benefit of the church. Every Christian should minister to other Christians with his or her gifts. This happens most naturally, effectively, and purposefully in Community Groups. Plus the close community connection allows people to realize that we all face similar problems. God uses community groups to allow Christians to encourage one another and grow in their faith.
Are you connected with a Community Group at New Life? If not, I want to encourage you to talk to someone this Sunday to help you find the best group for you. You can also find more information about our groups here!
Our Pastor writes most of the blog posts we publish, however, occasionally some of our other church leadership (some staff, some volunteer) who also contribute to the New Life blog.