Several years ago, the Christ in Youth Summer Conference (now known as MOVE) had a theme called ONES. The bottom line for the teaching that week is that we were never meant to be alone. I pray daily that those who attended the conference that summer will NEVER forget that bottom line, and I have incorporated that message into the “Love People” part of our vision statement at VCC. Life truly is better when we do it together. At VCC, Life Groups are the vehicle we steer folks towards so they can become more involved, and better known among the family of believers.
Among the purposes of our Life Groups:
Deeper study and application of God’s Word in a more intimate setting. Pouring over a passage of Scripture with 10 or 12 other people makes for a deeper time of study and reflection, a chance for give-and-take in discussion, and a bonding that simply is not possible in the Big Group time on Sunday mornings.
A chance to get to know some others on a deeper level. Our discussion are more than academic in nature, and because of that, we get to know the others in our Life Group on a deeper level. We learn their personalities, their quirks, maybe even their fears, and their faith issues (positive and negative), and can band together in love, prayer, and support for one another.
Doing Life Together. That means more than “just” a Bible study. While studying God’s Word is of primary importance, it is not the ONLY thing we do in Life Groups. We do social outings together (dinners, affinity activities, game nights, just to name a few).
There’s a Shepherding component that is HUGE here. When members of your Life Group are sick, in the hospital, having major life change issues, or whatever, members of the Life Group are the first responders. We fix meals, we check on folks who missed even one Life Group or Sunday morning gathering. We are there to help in whatever way necessary. We are family.
Challenging each other to move to that “next step” in our faith journey, ultimately getting to “Serve Others.” Whether it is serving inside the church structure on a ministry team, or serving outside the church structure in our community (and preferably both), we challenge each other to be the “hands and feet of Jesus.” It is so much easier and frankly more fun to serve others when you do it with a group of like-minded believers!
So often, the church loses as many people out the “back door” as come in through the “front door.” It is because we are not doing a great job in helping new believers connect with the body of Christ known as the local church. At VCC, our goal is to get everyone “plugged in” through a Life Group. We are far from achieving our goal, but we are making strides in that direction. Helping others see the benefits of being in a Life Group WILL make a difference in this matter.
So, what other benefits have you seen from being part of a Life Group? I would LOVE to hear from you on this matter.
I spent a little over an hour this morning, “helping” take care of a tech issue with a “Smart TV” with a member of Vero Christian Church . The family wants to use the Right Now Media app on their TV to be able to put Bible studies right on their television for ministry purposes. This family routinely opens their home to what I call the “hard cases.” Those are new Christians who carry lots of baggage, like addictions of various kinds, dysfunction of all kinds, but who are trying to follow Jesus and need a stable Christian marriage to watch and imitate.
I love the family for whom I “helped” with the TV issue today. BTW, as always, it was a “simple fix” but it wasn’t simple until we understood what to fix. It has been fixed, and Right Now Media will likely get more “air time” on that TV than anything else.
As we were conversing while trying to trouble shoot the TV issue, we both celebrated the fact that following Christ involves being in relationship. It is a multi-faceted relationship, and I want to briefly examine two of those components.
A relationship with Christ.
We need to draw closer to Jesus each day. We need to spend time daily in God’s Word. How can we get to know Jesus better if we don’t spend time with Him in the Word and in prayer? We can’t. Depending on someone else to always tell us about Jesus is like (thanks Brent Baker for this illustration) eating pre-chewed food. I listen to several sermon podcasts each week, and they are very helpful, but what I need most in my daily growth/walk with Christ is time in the Word of God. My desire is for my relationship with Jesus to be closer today than it was yesterday.
Set a specific time each day to be in the Word and in prayer. Stick to it. Not as a checklist kind of thing, but as a love thing. Love to be in the presence of Jesus through the Word and through prayer. Guard that time jealously and do not allow anything to come between you and your “Jesus time.”
How can you be more like Jesus if you don’t know what Jesus is really like? How can you know what Jesus is really like and not live your life to be more like Him?