Why do we do that?—LIFE GROUPS
As we continue our mini series about why we do certain things at Table Rock the way we do, Ryan Eagy is answering the question, “why do we do Life Groups?”
An Expression of Church Life Beyond Sunday Morning
Small groups. Bible studies. Missional communities. Sunday school. Core Seminars. Most churches have some expression of church life that extends beyond the Sunday morning gathering. This is because church leaders take seriously their mandate to “equip the saints for the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:12a ESV). Where Sunday morning is a gathering and celebration of our joy in Christ Jesus, we need other times that both 1) equip believers to better participate in the ministry God has called them to, and 2) have some church guided times where they can practice and participate in this ministry together. At Table Rock, we have Life Groups that try to find a “sweet-spot” of accomplishing both these goals.
Life Groups are groups of 15-30 people who meet every-other-week to
Eat and fellowship together over a meal, and
Look together at the previous week’s sermon text and sermon content and try to apply this lesson to their lives through discussion and prayer for one another.
On the one hand, Life Groups are not the most theologically intensive environment where we train our members and attenders. We do this through equipping classes and other training times. Similarly, they are not the main ministry that a believer should participate in. We all do this when we “love the Lord your God” and “love your neighbor” (Matthew 22:37–40). This occurs in all our interactions, but for most people it occurs most clearly in their day-to-day life of engaging neighbors, co-workers, and friends. The goal of Life Groups is to have a both-and place where believers and unbelievers can connect over what they all need most—the gospel of Jesus Christ through the very word of God in relationship with others.
Our desire is that Life Group attenders will find—
A sweet time of fellowship and encouragement for those who already trust in Jesus.
A place of genuine discussion where anyone can bring questioning friends and neighbors.
Life-application for sinners and failures.
Prayer for one another at a level all can engage in.
Most importantly, we pray this all happens while studying God’s word together, because it is his word which brings us the truth we all desperately need to know in Jesus.
A Prayer and a Challenge
For many familiar with a “bible study” church model of mid-week group times, Life Groups will be challenging as they seek to love and enjoy the deep truths of the Bible while discussing these truths at a level both accessible to a not-yet-believer and while also doing the hard work of applying it our lives—as openly and honestly as a sinner can! For those who are newer to spending a concerted effort studying God’s word, this can be a challenging time to examine what was said in a sermon and to let God’s word challenge their faith, assumptions, and actions in day-to-day life.
Our prayer is that God will use Life Groups to multiply both our interactions in our community with believers and unbelievers and challenge us all to relational engagement with one another focused primarily on God’s word and for his glory.