What is a group? Here’s a helpful way to think about groups. “A group is made up of people who come together in such a way and for a length of time that allows Christ’s indwelling presence to transform them.” Groups can be characterized by their love for God and for one another. Another way to think about groups is by thinking about four directions: Upward; Inward; Outward; and Forward.
Here at East Fairview, we’ve talked a lot about Living With Jesus Together So Others May Know Him. The first part of this idea – Living With Jesus – is all about “Me.” A follower of Jesus has a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior. And a follower of Jesus is learning a new way of life in His kingdom, growing to become more like Him! The second part of this idea – Together – is all about “We.” We’re a community of people connected by our love for God & one another and connected communities care for one another as we do life together. The last part of this idea – So Others May Know Him – is all about “Them.” We are sharing the story of God’s good news through Jesus Christ with those who don’t yet know him because we want to fulfill the Great Commission of seeing God’s Church grow to all ends of the earth!
This idea seems to capture those four directions we just talked about. In groups, we start by looking upward, praying for God’s will to be done in our lives as individuals, as a group of believers, and for those who don’t yet know Christ. As we cast our gaze inward, we ask the question – Who am I becoming? Am I becoming more like Jesus? In group life we hold one another accountable, encouraging one another to do good works, building community in our midst. Looking outward, we focus on inviting others into fellowship with us to see them become a part of God’s new community – the Church. And lastly, looking forward, we seek to equip and empower one another to make disciples, multiplying, growing, and fulfilling the Great Commission.
When? Groups will begin meeting on Wednesday nights, during the Ignite Season (October – March), beginning at 7:00pm.
How Often? Groups will begin meeting once a week.
Who’s Invited? Everyone is invited, and especially newcomers! Groups are a great way to introduce someone to Jesus.
What Will The Groups Be Talking About? To start, we will have two groups.
- The first group will be led by Dave Stauffer. Dave is passionate about helping us come to understand that the book of Psalms is a collection of prayers. In these prayers we see the full range of human emotions. In this group, you will be exploring how and where to appropriately express the fullness of your emotions – through and in prayer! The goal is to start practicing prayer, both as an individual and as part of a community.
- The second group will be led by Pastor Ryan. Ryan is passionate about exploring the three aspects of our vision statement – Living With Jesus So Others May Know Him – by talking about Discipleship as something each Christian is called to, the Church as a God-ordained community of people doing life together, and Evangelism by telling others how God is transforming your life and will do the same for others! You will be taking a deeper dive into the Sunday morning message with the goal of discerning unique ways to apply it to your life.
What’s The Format? Am I going to sit through a 60-minute lecture?! No. To begin, we’re going to share a meal together in the gym. This is a time for you to fellowship with your group. After dinner, we’re going to break out into separate rooms. The format for each group will be interactive and conversational. Remember, we’re doing life together and so we want to listen, talk, and share with one another.
Things For Each Group To Consider:
- How will your group live out the Upward, Inward, Outward, & Forward model?
- How will your group make sure that newcomers are always welcome?
- How will your group encourage newcomers to come back?
- How will your group create a safe environment for people to share?
When Jesus began his public ministry, he called a group of twelve to follow him. What could a measly group of twelve possibly accomplish? Fast forward nearly two thousand year later, A LOT! Jesus taught this group how to pray (Lk 11:1-4). He modeled the importance of spending quality time together, caring for one another (Mk 6:30-31). And he gave them a mission: reach the lost (Lk 9:1-2). In a year or two, this group began to grow by the thousands (Acts 2:41).
We’re entering a new season at EFCOB. As season in which we’re asking – How do we build a holistic discipleship into all that we do? A discipleship that goes beyond Sunday mornings. A discipleship which becomes holistic so that each and every time we gather as two or more, we connect with God and one another in prayer, care for one another, and reach out to the lost!
Why are we doing this? Because we have a vision – We want to see group life invigorate the life of each person at EFCOB. I encourage you to be asking yourself – How am I building discipleship into all that I do – joining with us as we ask that question of ourselves. Come and check out a group during Sunday School or during Ignite. I encourage you to be a part of what we’re doing this Fall – It just might change your life, and the world!