Like most churches, our church does groups. We call them community groups. We believe the most beautiful place to be broken and to mend, tell and be told the truth, and show and be shown compassion is in a community group. Our vision for community groups is “making friends about Jesus.”
The basis of community is found in the very nature of God, who created us in his image and said it is not good for man to be alone. We have a God-given need community. We embrace this need as believers and adopt a missionary posture. This is the “making” part.
Mission doesn’t happen by accident. If you are a Christian, the question is not, “Are you a missionary?” The question is, “Are you a good or bad missionary?” Since people inherently seek community, a good missionary will offer his church as a viable option for finding new friends. This brings us to the next word: friends.
Friends know and trust one another. Friends confide in one another and help one another. Becoming friends is at the core of our discipleship process. It’s hard to disciple someone if you don’t know them. The more we trust one another, the more we know one another. The more we know someone, the better we can disciple them.
What is your group “about”? We strive to be about Jesus. We want the people in our community groups to function like a family. (Even better than family in many instances!) Being part of a community group means you want others to point you toward Jesus. Joining a group says, “I don’t do as well by myself.” Being in community says, “I need you to help me be more like Jesus, and I will help you do the same.”
The purpose of our groups is not comfort. Indeed, some of the most uncomfortable conversations happen during, after, or because of our groups. In his discipling of others, Jesus sometimes made things awkward and uncomfortable. His mission demanded it. It still demands it. Press into it the awkwardness. Ask hard questions. Don’t be afraid of the tears. His mission and our friends are worth it.
We realize community groups with this level of personal interaction and involvement takes a different kind of preparation. It’s more than preparing a lesson to teach; our leaders need to stay on point at all times. Here are some questions we ask our group leaders so that making friends about Jesus remains the main thing for our community groups:
Are you making friends?
- Who is new?
- How long have they been there?
- How did they get there?
- Are you around one another outside of regular group nights and worship gatherings? How often?
- How would you describe the trust level in your group?
- What has effectively built trust in your group?
Are you about Jesus?
- How well are you pointing each other to Jesus?
- How often do you have hard conversations?
- Who, as a group, are you praying Jesus saves?
What are the groups in your church “about,” and how do you keep your leaders tracking with that purpose?
This post was originally published on the LifeWay Pastors Blog.