What Are Community Groups? Part 1
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.
Why Do We Have Community Groups?
We want to follow biblical examples of discipleship at Heights Pres. The Scripture models for us the pattern of the early church regularly meeting together in their homes, devoting themselves to doctrine, fellowship, meals together, and prayer (Acts 2:42). In addition to our Sunday worship service, Community Groups provide an opportunity for members of Heights Pres. to grow in their faith alongside one another.
Having Community Groups provides stability for the church. When members are committed to a group, having formed relationships with one another outside of Sunday morning, they become committed to something outside of themselves. That commitment to others helps create a sense of stability at Heights Pres. through seasons of blessing as well as difficulty. Further, as new visitors check out our church, inviting them into a community group is one of the most tangible demonstrations of Christian life within our church.
We believe that we have been adopted into the family of God by our faith in Jesus. This new family is experienced in the local church body. One of our central beliefs is that we have been saved into a people of God; individual Christianity is a foreign concept to the Bible. Community Groups is one of the practical ways in which members can experience the “family” of believers we have been welcomed in to. In 1 Thess. 2:8 Paul expresses that his love for the saints in Thessalonica was such that he not only shared the gospel with them but his own life. We have Community Groups in order to provide a space for sharing our lives with one another, knowing that we belong to one another, as brothers and sisters, in the family of God. Just as a nuclear family gathers regularly for meals and events, so to will our church family gather regularly to share life with each other.
We also believe that the Christian life is not one that is lived independent of others, but is lived out in the context of a community. 1 Peter 2:9-10 reminds us that we have been saved into a people of God. Therefore, community is the context of gospel transformation. Community Groups facilitate discipleship because it is, by definition, a community. Heights Pres. is not a bunch of individuals, but a local gathering of the people of God. Our identity is in that community. Community Groups exist because we are brought into relationship with one another. We are to care for one another, encourage one another, and speak the truth to each other in love. Through our relationships in community, we will achieve the goal of presenting each other mature in Christ.