One of the ways Heights Pres. seeks to accomplish its vision of “Loving Each Other” is through our weekly Community Groups. Through gathering on a regular basis with others from the church, we hope to create an environment that displays the love of God for one another, for the sake of encouraging one another in the gospel as well as demonstrating the gospel for anyone wanting to get connected to Heights Pres. This four-part blog series serves to outline Why, For What Purpose, and How Community Groups exist at Heights Pres. Visit our Community Group page to find out when our next group is meeting.
For What Purpose Do We Have Community Groups?
Because we have been saved into a community, we also believe that personal transformation – discipleship – takes place in community. We have Community Groups so that we can follow Jesus as his disciples more fully. This takes place as we let people into our lives, being transparent and honest. Listening to others challenge and encourage us with the Word is one of the ways we will grow. As these communities grow closer to each other, we want those relationships to be the context for confessing sin to one another and asking for prayer.
We want community groups at Heights Pres. to be one of the main ways we are encouraged by the gospel. We are daily in need of hearing the words of God’s grace toward us sinners. We regularly need the loving support of our church family to pick us up when we are down. We don’t have to wait for Sunday morning to be reminded again that God looks upon as righteous in His Son. Community Groups exist so that we can do this for each other. This will require us to open the scriptures together through bible studies and reflection upon previous sermons at Heights Pres. By having open dialogue and conversations, we also want to take a posture of humility, allowing our brothers and sisters to speak a word of encouragement into our lives. As relationships develop over time, this objective becomes more natural.
1 John 4:12 teaches us that when we are gathered together in loving community, we display God to a watching world. A final purpose for community groups is that they would be for evangelism. “Our love for one another, to the extent that it imitates and conforms to the cross-love of Jesus for us, is evangelistic.”(Tim Chester, Total Church) We are all called, as disciples of Jesus, to make other disciples of Jesus. But that doesn’t mean we all do that same kind of work. It is a corporate call upon the people of God. The beautiful thing about doing evangelism through community groups is that it allows every person in the group to participate. Some [in the group] will build relationships with visitors, some will share the message of the gospel through the discussion time, and some will invite new visitors into the group. There is a role for each of us to play in making our community groups evangelistic.