We’ve said in our last post that the big aim and goal of CGs to help us grow in the likeness of Jesus. God is given glory by our increasing godliness, wisdom, our love and care.
So, what might some of the values and characteristics of our groups look like then? What are we aiming for?
- We want the groups to grow in its inclusion, that is a warm, safe and trusted place; where there are trusted relationships intentionally built; a place of support, openness. We look out for those on the outside, the margins and seek to draw them in too. We include those who can’t make it regularly or at all (whether by choice or circumstance).
- We want everyone in their CG to see they are responsible to encourage people who are part of the group (regular or not) – praying for, but also keeping in touch; asking, ‘Where can we help?’ ‘How can we pray?’ ‘What’s hard?’
- We want CG to be straightforward to run each week, and a joy to lead; not a burden with loads of prep – for leaders and participants.
- We want CG to be to be a place where we are growing in knowledge and understanding so that we walk worthy, so formation is encouraged, expected even. It’s a place of transformation.
- We also want to encourage spiritual fruit and it being evidenced and increasing among the CG. It is a place where we can increase in patience, love, peace, joy, faithfulness, goodness, kindness and self-control etc. with each other.
- We want to encourage service among each other; so how can we foster serving each other in the group. So we look for ways that people can identify and use their gifts and resources. Among each other in the CG is a primary place of service: hospitality, mercy, helps, organising, teaching, encouragement, leading, prayer…and so on.
- We want the groups to foster a ”getting to know you” and “make space to listen to you”, and “hear (and respond) to what is going on” attitude and practice in each other’s lives.
- We want to foster getting people below the surface – do we know each other’s backgrounds, situations, skills, talents, joys, interests, sorrows, successes, failures, battles, struggles etc.
- We want to help people increasingly ask each other to pray for each other. So we consider ways to do this so that all are praying – maybe splitting into pairs or male/female to pray if that helps.
- We want to encourage praying scripturally. And we practice this for ourselves and each other; for the church and the world we live in. Prayer for a ministry includes the tasks, the activity, what is seen, but it also includes the spiritual goals and aims, the spiritual health and vitality of believers; their faithfulness and character. David Powlison said this is where the battle lies.
“Typically, people list situational requests of God—find a job, heal sickness, draw an unsaved relative to faith, bless a ministry initiative, give traveling mercies. Those are natural things to pray about—the Bible gives examples of situational prayers for such blessings. But if that’s all that people say, such requests express a shallow and depersonalized understanding of human need, and an inattention to how Scripture portrays prayer.” (D Powlison)
Also, Ed Welch writes
“Prayer for the sick aunt includes her circumstances (her physical health) AND her soul. So we will pray for healing, and strength to face her difficulty, and we will pray that her inner person is being renewed, especially through knowing God’s presence, that she is facing towards God, responding in patience while her body will never be fully renewed in this life.”
So the goal that keeps us on track?
So, what is CG about? We want to increasingly help each other be disciples, learners, growing – not just in head knowledge – but in life and wisdom, so that our thinking, believing, our desires and choices are increasingly faithful and true, aligned to God’s purposes for us as we live in our world. It is what pleases God because we are growing and changing and becoming increasingly mature in faithful likeness to Jesus.