I am working with a team of people at church who are restructuring must of our ministry structure. I’ve been putting together some thoughts on our small group ministry…here’s what i have…just wanted to see what you think. this is stuff is still fairly raw, but i’m alright with that:
Our worship gatherings are a great place for gathering together as a larger family to investigate and celebrate God and explore what it means to follow Christ. We strive to create gatherings that allow us to re-connect and renew our relationship with God and be challenged to live passionately as followers of Christ.
However, so often we leave a Sunday morning worship gathering or even a good intimate time alone (aka: ?quiet time?) with God with great intention to live differently. Sadly, all too often we find ourselves a week later with no lasting change. What we need is a group of people who can push, challenge and encourage each other to really live out God?s calling in their lives. The fact is: we need each other.
Most of us know this. We have been trying to ?do life? all by ourselves for quite sometime. Most of us have had sporadic results at best, and dismal failure at worst. However, we all know how hard it is to find a group of people that we naturally connect.
To us, driving 25 minutes during rush our for an information based bible study with people you only see on Sundays and Wednesdays (or whenever your ?small group? meets) seems a bit forced and unnatural. It certainly struggles to create lasting spiritual friendships.
Our neighborhood groups are a place where we hope an answer to this struggle is found. Here we find people from the same neighborhood (people who visit the same grocery stores, get gas at the same gas stations and maybe even have the same mailman) who find themselves in accessible relationships that can be fostered naturally because of geographical proximity.
In these groups, our focus is on:
– Discussing and learning how we can best encourage each other to live out the work of God in our lives.
– Working on how we can be part of seeing God?s reign come to our specific neighborhoods. In this context we see neighbors (from The Well) working together and neighboring together (in our neighborhoods).
– Viewing my neighborhood as my primary context for ?ministry.? (So often we define ?ministry? in too simple of terms. However, ministry happens best as I naturally use my gifts and passions to serve my neighbors).
In the most basic sense, our Neighborhood Groups are the place where we are able to experience what church (a.k.a. a Christ-centered community seeking to love God and love others) is supposed to be on a smaller, more personal and more practical level.
We believe that the mission of the God is best lived out through people in the same neighborhoods where we are all have an important role in challenging each other to grow to be more like Christ. For it is from Christ that the whole church body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Ephesians 4)