Monday, April 07, 2008

Small Groups at Grace - Part One

What is the goal of a small group ministry here at Grace Church? To connect people with God, with Grace Church and with each other

Why is a small group ministry needed here at Grace Church? God has certainly blessed us with fruit as we have made it our purpose and priority as a church to be involved in meeting people where they are and moving them to where God wants them to be. The result has been some pretty rapid growth over the past several years which has created the challenge of taking all of these new people that God is bringing to us weekly and seeing them connected to our church family so that they grow spiritually and are cared for properly. Currently, the vast majority of those who attend grace Church on Sunday morning have no other connection besides the Sunday morning worship service.

What does an effective small group look like and do? In a small group, people feel accepted and loved unconditionally which allows them to become transparent in sharing their struggles so that group members can pray for one another and care for one another in practical ways. In a small group, lives are formed and transformed as people meet together to pray, to study, to engage in fellowship, or to work on a specific task. In a small group, people connect in a Biblical way with others who attend Grace Church by providing healthy fellowship in a community marked by Christian love and oneness. In essence, through a small group ministry we can better reflect the early church in the book of Acts which is described with the following words from Acts 2:44-47

“And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

How are small groups different than our Adult Bible Fellowship Classes (ABF’s)? Our ABF ministry has been a very important aspect of our church, however, as our church has grown, it has been difficult to connect our new people into already existing ABF classes. At this point, well less than 30% of adults who attend Grace Church on Sunday mornings attend an ABF class. This means that 7 or 8 out of every 10 adults who attend our church regularly have no real connection. Through small groups we can more easily see our new people become connected and develop relationships that will allow them to grow in their faith and be cared for through the ups and downs of life. In short, small groups provide intimacy.

Does this mean that we will be ending Adult Bible Fellowship Classes? No! We have no plans to formally end our current Adult Bible Fellowship Classes. However, we will be making small groups the main focus as we strive to connect new people to Grace.

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