Building Biblical Community

Building Biblical Community

In 1986 while serving a small congregation in rural Ohio, I walked into the church basement where children’s Sunday School was held. It was shortly before worship was to begin and there I found the Sunday School superintendent who had reached the end of her rope. She had been working hard to rally people to take an interest and serve in children’s ministry but she was getting nowhere. Every person she called affirmed that children’s ministry was important and they agreed that it needed to go to the next level of effectiveness, but each one had their own reason why they could not serve.
That Sunday morning I recognized that there is a way to do church that produces life and healthy function and there is a way to do church that produces death and dysfunction. This little church was not on the road to life and health, but God began to turn it around.
Mark 3:14 speaks of Jesus’ intentional steps to create healthy, life-giving, biblical community: “He appointed twelve that they might be with him…” Notice that….his highest priority was that the disciples be with him…to spend time with him…to give time to each other and from that small group of tax collectors and fisherman came a band of world-changers the likes of which the world has never seen. That is what biblical community produces.
In Mark 6:7, Jesus goes on to say, “Calling the twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two…” While the vision for and call to ministry can come to an individual, Jesus knew that ministry must be done in community. Doing ministry alone without the support of others who are on the journey as well, will result in spiritually depleted people, spiritually worn out pastors and leaders who are ready to give up and call it quits.
Small groups are where biblical community is built and sustained. Every day people come to church seeking to connect in significant and meaningful ways with others who are on a genuine quest for healthy life as well. However, if they too quickly become involved in the task of ministry without first finding ‘people to be with them’ through classes and small groups, that deeper relationship and connection they are looking for gets pushed aside and forgotten. They settle into a comfortable rhythm of ‘tasking’ their way through church life that lulls them into a spiritual slumber and the Christian life becomes nothing more than a ho-hum routine,
Small groups are people, just like you, who:
• Want to be known at a deeper level
• Cared about and encouraged
• Taught, helped and given the chance to help others
When we are spiritually challenged and held accountable for the life we say we want, then we know we are in that place, that Jesus came to earth to create and through the Holy Spirit continually remind us, that is where
• we find courage to move forward
• hope that tomorrow will be brighter
• where joy is restored and replenished
In the Winter catalog there are classes that as a church we are offering and I hope that you will take advantage of as many of them as seems right to you, but don’t miss the section of the catalog that talks about small groups. The ones listed may or may not fit your schedule, but mostly they are there to prompt you to take the initiative to inquire, or reengage in relationships, through joining people, in small groups who want to live as Christ intended. Make 2018 a comeback year and join us as we become a church that helps people, help people through seeking out life-giving and potentially world-changing relationships.

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