Author: John Cassidy
There was a time when I used to be skeptical about Community Group or a Small Group settings. I thought it was a bit too touchy-feely, and it provided more fuel for the rumor mill instead of fostering true discipleship. Perhaps you have had these feelings too. In this post, I hope to share a little of what I have been learning about Community Groups over the last 6 years and why they are so valuable at Arcade Church.
Here’s why Community groups are important:
Community Groups foster close relationships.
The Community Group atmosphere is ready-made for building friendships. We cannot promise deep relationships, but we can create atmospheres to meet new people. As a rule, people talk more in small groups. People are quick to recognize needs and help to meet them. The relationships started within Community Groups construct a strong fabric within Arcade. The relationships that are formed outside the walls of the church building are relationships that tend to endure and strengthen over time.
Community Groups provide a comfortable introduction for nonbelievers to the Christian faith.
I’m skeptical that “inviting people to church” is the best means of evangelism. Don’t get me wrong it is great to invite others to church, but inviting someone to Community Group might be better. Most of us tend to fear forming relationships too quickly, especially when it involves sharing our faith with someone. That is a natural and understandable fear. Inviting someone to a Community Group provides a way to involve a nonbeliever directly into a community of believers—watching them live out their faith, listening to them pray, hearing them share God’s work in their life, and learning more about the Bible. The nonbeliever is more likely to ask questions, get answers, and form relationships with the believers. Community Groups are a powerful missional tool. They allow for the greater spread of the gospel among nonbelievers in Sacramento.
Community Groups provide an ideal way to care for the needs of people within the church.
When one believer in a Community Group is struggling financially, emotionally, spiritually, socially, etc., it is much easier for the members of the group to notice and provide help. The structure of a Community Group is essentially a community of believing friends. Friends should help one another, especially Christian friends.
Community Groups provide a way for Christians to live out their faith instead of merely hearing more preaching or teaching.
If Sunday morning is for listening, then the rest of the week is for living. Whether it’s discussing the Sunday sermon, talking about a spiritual battle, or simply praying for one another, Community Groups create a context for Christians to live out their faith in real life.
Community Groups participate in focused prayer for one another.
Prayer cannot be overrated, but it is often under-practiced. Community Groups offer an environment for members to pray with and for one another. I am grateful to know that my group prays for me during the week. Community Groups at Arcade can make for great prayer meetings.
Community Groups allow for mutual edification among believers.
It’s easy to depend on the professionals to give us our spiritual food. According to the Bible, God gives spiritual gifts to all believers. The gifts God has given you are for the benefit of the whole church. Every Christian should minister to other Christians with his or her gifts. This happens most naturally, effectively, and purposefully in Community Groups. Plus, we start to realize that other believers face the same problems we do. Edification is at work.
Community Groups encourage better learning.
Listening to a sermon is a great way to learn the Word, but it is easy to become detached or daydream during a sermon. We become passive listeners. Not so in a Community Group. When a few people are together, every individual is expected to be involved and to participate. This active involvement is an effective way to learn Scripture.
Community Groups help to cultivate leadership within the church.
Someone has to lead a Community Group or facilitate the discussion. Arcade needs leaders other than the pastors and elders. Thus, Community Groups give opportunities for leadership development at Arcade.
Are you in a Community Group? If not, I want to encourage you to talk to someone at Connection Point Central this Sunday to help you find the best group for you or you can sign up online today!