What Are Community Groups? Part 3
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.
How Will We Implement These Values In Community Groups?
Heights Pres. intends on accomplishing the above stated purposes by having community groups that are primarily focused on fostering community and fellowship. We will not neglect time for study and prayer, but the primary focus will be on relationship building. In order to create a space which fosters relationship building, we encourage the leaders of each group to incorporate food and drink into each week’s gathering. This could look like serving a full dinner meal, or providing snacks/appetizers. It could also look like asking other members of the group to rotate food/drink responsibility. Its up to each group what this looks like, but we want to emphasize eating and drinking together as a family. The gospel writers frequently use the phrase, “The Son of Man came...” followed up some objective Jesus accomplished in his earthly ministry and work on the cross (“not to be served, but to serve..., etc.). In Luke 7:34 he writes that the Son of Man came eating and drinking. Apparently food was a widely known part of Jesus’ ministry.
Hospitality involves welcoming, creating space, listening, paying attention, and providing. Meals slow things down. Some of us don’t like that. We like to get things done. But meals force you to be people oriented instead of task oriented. Sharing a meal is not the only way to build relationships, but it is number one on the list. – Tim Chester, A Meal with Jesus
In addition to gathering together, eating together, and praying together, the early church also devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching. At Heights Pres. we value God’s word as the means by which we know God, ourselves, our need for salvation, and the grace of God through Christ. At our community groups, we will dedicate time to studying the Bible in community. We will accomplish this in a number of ways; reflecting on the previous week’s sermon, a DVD Bible study series, or an independent curriculum, or some other creative way of learning. Our desire is for a passion for the Word to spread amongst members of Heights Pres.
Each week, we will also have dedicated time for expressing prayer requests amongst the group. The leader will then lead the group in prayer (whether that is one person or many people praying is up to each group). Prayer will be a part of each week’s meeting because we believe that God hears us when we call on Him. Prayer is essential for Community Groups because prayer is going before our loving Father, creator of the heavens and earth, with a confidence that our desires will be heard, and that He will ultimately work for our good and His glory.