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Biblical Basis of Community Groups

(an extended description)

What is a community group?

A community group is several people that commit to gathering regularly for fellowship, Bible study, sharing, prayer, and service. In a community group, people come together to share life with one another. Together they share their hearts as the scriptures have commanded to join one another in times of sorrow and joy as exemplified by Jesus (Mk 1:40-45; Mk 6:30-34; John 11:33-35) and as commanded by the Scriptures (Rom 12:10-15). In community groups, people live out the call to transparency and love for one another (John 13:34-35) through prayer (Eph 6:18; Col 4:2-3), confessing sins (James 5:16), serving one another (Gal 5:13-14), and fellowshipping with one another and God (1 John 1:4&7).

What is the purpose of community groups?

The purpose of community groups is community. Community is the body of believers coming together to connect, commit, and confront one another towards the purpose of holiness (Heb 10:22- 25). Community is in turn for the purpose of the glorifying God (Rom 11:36; I Cor 6:20; 10:31; Rev 21:3-4).

Who decides which studies will be done?

The church provides a list of resources and sermon discussion questions that can used each week (Acts 20:28). Community groups are not meant to be overly structured and many of the details will be in the hands of the group itself and the leader. The desire of the leadership is for community groups to do what is best for the people in the group.

Why are they so important?

Community groups work to achieve community. God as a Trinitarian being who exist in eternal perfect community and has created mankind to be in community as well (Gen 1:26-27). God’s high value of community is seen in the Old Testament when he gives laws to preserve the community of Israel and further seen when the sin of one man is enough to condemn the entire community (Duet 13:1-18, Joshua 7:1-26). Paul exhorts the church to community, calling them to be “devoted to oneanother” and sharing their heartfelt  sorrow and joy with one another (Rom 12:10-15). Paul directly commands believers to speak to one another (Eph 5:15-21). Paul’s communal language is apparent in Heb 10:22 when he calls believers to communally draw near to God with transparent hearts. Paul’s communal call continues as he calls the community of God to be committed to one another and the faith (v23). The communal call is climaxed when Paul calls believers to drive one another to love and good deeds (v24). Community groups are essential in building the community God has designed and called us too.

Did God really want Community Groups to be small?

The reason that community groups are small and limited in number is because the kind of community that is purposed by God is best achieved in a smaller context. Hebrews 10:24-25 calls believers to “stimulate one another to love and good deeds.” It is not the call to only the pastors and teachers but a call to everyone to stimulate one another. Community groups provide a chance for each member to be engaged where they are at and not to be overrun by the group as a whole. Therefore community groups allow for a greater level of community then would be present in a large impersonal gathering where only one is preaching and teaching.

What size are community groups?

Community groups are intended to be small and to allow everyone to interact and not have certain members that never speak. To have silent members is to go against the Biblical commands to speak to one another (Eph 5:15-20) and bear one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2). People cannot bear one another’s burdens without hearing from each and every member what those burdens are. Community groups must be small enough to hear from everyone in the allotted time and achieve the call to “stimulate one another to love and good deeds” (Heb 10:24-25). Therefore groups will vary in size and leaders may choose to have smaller groups to allow for shorter meeting. Groups ideally will vary from 8-10 members.

Where do community groups meet?

It is preferable that they meet in people's homes. However, the church is available for those that wish to make the necessary reservations and find it more convenient. Homes are encouraged for the purpose of a more personal space conducive to the development of community.

How often do community groups meet?

Each group will have their own schedule but they will meet at least twice a month How long will community group meet? Again each group will vary but at least an hour and a half. This being the average length it will take for the group to hear from everyone and to get past socializing to more meaningful interaction.

Who can lead community groups?

Leadership is not to be taken lightly, and a selection process does exist (James 3:1). Ultimately, a leader must have a heart that fears God (Exodus 18:21), be dedicated to the word of God, and lead a life of example (Col 3:16; Heb 13:7). Leaders will be asked to commit to meet quarterly to share and encourage one another. A process exists for the selection of leaders. If you are interested please contact Pastor Troy Nelson.

What exactly do community groups do?

Each community group will have a unique self-developed identity, but all the groups will gather together to prayer for one another and others, converse about life, the scriptures, and some may join together for service.

How long do community groups last?

Community group will have various time frames depending on the material that they plan to cover. Each group will determine the length of their time together at the outset of the group.

How will community group be comprised and put together?

Community groups do have a limit in number and therefore timing of requests and the leaders will serve as guidelines for who will be in groups. If you find a community group appealing find the leader or contact them to find out if you can join. It is preferable that people find the group that best fits them and will be beneficial to them. Therefore it will be a joint effort on the part of leaders and members to join groups.

Who determines who is in a community group?

You do. The makeup of a community group is largely decided by those who wish to join. However some groups may be coming together for a specific purpose that will be most helpful for only a select population.

What if I have children?

Each community group will have to figure out a way to address children care in their own group. Some groups may include children others will provide child care with older children. Others may ask you to provide your own child care. Ultimately that is an issue that can be discussed with your community group leader.

How can I pick a community group and get involved if I am new and not connected yet?

The Church leaders can provide you with a list of groups, locations, and descriptions to help you decide which group fits your priorities. The leadership is available to help you get connected and do what they can to help you.

Who should I contact if I am interested in being in or leading a community group?

Pastor Troy Nelson