Kicking off our Community Groups
Below is the content that we have sent out to each of the Community Group leaders, with some slight adaptations, so that you are able to read and get a sense of the vision that we are trying to kick off with our Community Group Ministry.
1. Each group is going to be provided with a packet of questions from the series that started this past Sunday "Taking Ownership of Your Membership" and we will also be putting them up on Planning Center. From this week moving forward, we will try to have questions up a full month ahead of time for people who want to follow along with the studies and to give group leaders maximum opportunity to prepare.
2. The leaders will begin meeting once a month where they can discuss the progress of our groups, any challenges we are facing, and to mutually encourage and train one another so that each of our groups can grow as family and equip our leaders to be able to make each group a center of Community, Mission, Shepherding and Discipleship.
3. Starting this week we are going to have a man and woman from each community group in front of the church so we can have them available for prayer and counsel.
4. For the first couple of months we are all going to stick to the same material based off of application of the Sunday Sermon. This way, as we grow together as one body, we are using the same materials and same questions giving us the opportunity for the whole church to kick off the new groups while being on the same page.
5. Starting this week, we are going to begin talking from the pulpit about having the groups be more of a mix of people from the two different churches. We wanted to see what would happen naturally with sign ups, but now that the groups are beginning to take shape, we are going to use the next few Sunday mornings to encourage people to consider joining in fellowshipping with people that they may not know yet, even if that takes them a bit out of their comfort zones.
6. We want “mission” to be one of the primary focuses for each group along with discipleship, caring for one another in love and the building of community, so Karen Peet has developed a plethora of mission opportunities in our own back yard, and she would love to come share them with the different groups. If your group has a different idea other than the ones that are offered, praise God. Go for it!!! But, we do want to make sure the each group is not only focused on meeting the needs of the people within the group but reaching the lost in our communities.
7. We want to ask you to be the welcomers to the new people who come to our church. Hopefully you have noticed, but it has not taken long, and we are already growing far beyond “Trinity people” and “Remedy People”. We are getting new visitors and fresh faces each week. Lets take it upon ourselves to invite these new friends into community and help them feel like family.
8. We would like to see each group “adopt a missionary”. You can get creative with this, but in the very least, I would ask that your group would:
- Be praying for that missionary
- Be in some degree of contact with that missionary as much as it is possible for the missionary in their context
- Invite the missionary into your community when they are in the area so they can be refreshed in community and so your group can learn to pray for them more effectively.
9. We will be printing off some ”Welcome to Redeemer Fellowship” postcards and we would ask that as one of the first service opportunities for each group that you go through the neighborhood surrounding where you meet and simply let them know that there is a new church in the area and they are welcome. We are not asking you to “cold-call” people, or preach at people, but simply to hand them an invitation and let them know that we are here and invite them out. If that opens up opportunities to share the Gospel or pray with people, awesome! If it is simply a time to scatter seed, that is awesome as well!
10. The Tuesday Toms River Group is going to also pass out invitations in the neighborhoods around the church. We invite you to join us in that if you would like to take part in that. Between that and the yard sale, it could be a great way to let a lot of people know in a short amount of time of our presence in their community. We will send out and announce the date for anyone who is interested.
11. Lastly, we want to see our groups be the primary place for Community, Mission, Shepherding and Discipleship. To do this, we need to swim up stream against some habits that have formed in Christian culture over hundreds of years. People have gotten to a place where their first response is “to call the pastor”.
First, as a pastor, let me say that the pastors here LOVE shepherding, but in our best attempt to be biblical in our approach, we think it is really important that we help people understand the importance of “the priesthood of all believers”, and that it is so much more powerful when people are ministered to, and then followed up with, in community rather than being ministered to by just one pastor.
We want people to understand that they have a FAMILY around them, not just a pastor, but a priesthood of believers. So as people come and share their different struggles, needs and shepherding opportunities, we want to utilize our groups by first asking, “Have you talked to anyone in your community group”?
This will be a work in progress, but it is a work that we are excited to kick off. We ask for grace along the way because we are learning how to organize and shepherd a larger church and much of this is new to us. But we are confident in the quality of our leaders and excited for the vision that we believe the Lord has given to us, and can't wait to see what the Lord does as we begin to gather in community to worship Jesus together.
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