This is an excerpt from a talk given to leaders of the community group to remind us of what the purpose and aim is for meeting together. (Part 2 talks about values and characteristics that shape our groups).
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.
We’ve said that CGs are where primary pastoral care is to be carried out. But what is that? It means being concerned for each other’s ‘relationship with the Lord’. We want to be asking “Where are you?” (in relation to the Lord and his people). That’s a good question. That kind of question gets beyond mere attendance (or not) at church services or even involvement in some church ministry (or not).
CGs are a place where we can cultivate trust and intentional relationships that can get to that kind of question. We’re to grow in loving God. In knowing God. But also we are to grow in loving each other. In knowing each other. It’s not just about me and God but me and others.
But our relationships say something about our relationship with God. So we are to grow in loving each other – because we are concerned for each other’s ongoing maturing and growing into Christlikeness. Where we are with the Lord becomes more important to us, as we care pastorally.
People we meet with in our CGs live lives where circumstances can be easy, good, flourishing; and difficult, hard, painful. We have relationships that are straightforward, encouraging, helpful, a joy even; and relationships that are hard, fractured, painful, sad. Yet God uses life in its ups and downs, highs and lows, to change and grow us from the inside out. So as leaders we want to cultivate a culture where we help people move from the seen to unseen, the circumstance and relationship to the spiritual.
God has given us his Word and each other as instruments of change and growth
He gives us his Word to train, correct, teach, rebuke; we need Gods word to show us what we are like; and what God is like. We sit under the authority of God’s word so we look at it but not in some isolated or merely intellectual way. We want to increasingly help each other apply God’s word into our own particular set of circumstances and relationships. We increase in knowledge and understanding of God, his purposes, his promises. It is for us, our church, our world. For we are his people living in his world.
But he has also given us each other. We are his instruments
too. So CGs is to help foster growth and
change – maturing – to attain the full measure of Christ; and are we are to do
it together. We want to help each other
do that so that we grow in wisdom and love, like Jesus.
So when we think about growing together it has to include ourselves first and foremost. It really starts with us. To help others change and grow, we need to be experiencing change and growth ourselves. Our own personal sanctification has to be a real priority. Not so such about how well we lead a bible study or answer questions or provide hospitality.
Being part of church is for our good and God’s glory. Community Groups help us grow in our relationship with the Lord and each other.
The next part helps us consider some of the values and characteristics that shape our community groups. We can all be involved.