Friday, September 25, 2009

Why We Do CONNECT Groups

Beginning in October, we start a new series here at Grace Church that we are calling, GRACE MATTERS! This series will take us through the first 3 chapters in the book of Ephesians. Not only will we see that the GRACE of God matters, but we will also see that God saved us for far more than just heaven. He also saved us to be part of this wonderful thing we call the church. So in that case, GRACE Church matters as well.

During this series (that will last through November 15th) we are going to be going over the main teaching of the passage in our Sunday morning services. We then are encourgaing everyone to get into one of our small groups that we call CONNECT groups, just for 8 weeks, where the practical aspects of the passage will be discussed throughout the week.

Why are we encoruaging everyone to get into a CONNECT Group? Our Pastor of Connections, Steve Burghart, answers that question below:

At Grace Church, we define our mission in the world according to the Great Commission (Mt. 28:18-20) and the Great Commandment (Mt. 22:36-40). We are all about Meeting people wherever they are and Moving them to where God wants them to be. That means that we are here to make disciples of Jesus Christ and a disciple is characterized as a person who loves God, loves people, and seeks to serve in the expansion of the Kingdom of God. We believe that group life is where we can most effectively meet all of these requirements of the church.

Our faith is a relational, communal faith. We have to learn how to love, even unlovable people, like God loves, something radically different than anything experienced in the world. But it’s clear that this was Jesus’ desire for His church. In His prayer for us just before going to the cross, Jesus prayed,

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:20-23

The glory given to Christ by the Father was His mission in the world, to seek and save the lost. That glory was given to His church in the Great Commission. And the foundation of that mission is divinely-created community characterized by love as described in the Great Commandment.

Since God intends that we would learn what Jesus taught and live in loving relationship, we need to get life-on-life with others who are travelling this pathway toward faithfulness. This can’t be accomplished purely on Sunday morning. This needs to be integrated into our entire life. And, since Jesus’ desire is that the world would see our love, it makes sense that we should practice loving each other where the world will likely see it, namely in the world.

Therefore, at Grace Church, we pursue faithfulness to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment through solid biblical preaching and teaching on Sunday mornings AND committed group life during the week where we seek to help one another grow in the faith as we encourage one another to continually move in the direction God has set for us.

No comments: