Why We Need Community Groups
Community Groups are so important to us at Del Rey Church. What's a Community Group? It's a small home fellowship of believers from Del Rey Church, who meet together outside of our larger corporate Sunday worship gathering, for more worship, fellowship, prayer and growth in Christ as His disciples on mission.
Whether you are a part of one or not, please take a moment to read about our philosophy of ministry with the Community Groups here - http://www.delreychurch.com/what-we-do/community-groups
Having read the above link, now let's reflect further about why we're really into Community Groups as an expression of our faith in God and life in His church.
FIVE REASONS FOR CGs at DRC:
1. It is the biblical model.
There is a strong biblical case to be made that the strength of the early church in the Bible seems to be a direct result from the close relationships developed in community groups. Consider below the words of Acts 2:42-47, and ask yourself, “Do I want that for my church?”
They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe… And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common… and were sharing them with all… day by day continuing with one mind… from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
In the New Testament there are several references to “the church that is in their house” (Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 2) and it is always connected to fruitful ministry. The Home Fellowship is to be an extension of the main church body to help BUILD our church.
2. It meets the need of significant relationships.
As humans we were made to live in deep and meaningful relationships with others. As Christians we were designed to worship and grow in significant relationships with other believers. This is an essential aspect of Christian life for everyone in our church to have. Therefore, we need to work diligently to provide an environment for this to happen.
Reflect on what the Bible would say about this point:
“… let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near...” Heb 10:24-25
3. It makes our church a “church” and not a crowd.
As more people come to church as well as those who have now become regulars, we have an urgent need to transform Del Rey from a crowd into a church. This is also in preparation for those who will be coming to our church soon! We want them to be a part of the family not just Sunday goers, but real life disciples sharing our real lives together as we seek our Lord for His sanctifying work and bold mission.
4. It decentralizes the ministry.
We've been called by Christ to be disciples who make disciples. Part of “making disciples who make disciples” is to provide an environment were everyone has the opportunity to minister. Many people think that frontline ministry is only for seminary grads and the spiritually gifted radio preacher types. This kind of thinking hinders ministry. Home fellowships break this trend by giving our church the weekly picture that frontline ministry is for everyone!
5. It sets us on mission throughout the city.
Los Angeles is a big place. Angelenos drive for work, home, recreation, etc. They also drive for church. Our city is organized moreso around networks than immediate neighborhoods. That said, we want to impact both, so by intentionally spreading out around the city for fellowship we are able to increase impact (and save some time from traffic!). Sunday traffic is minimal, but during the week (especially evenings) it can be tough. Our church building is in one corner of the city, but our homes are spread all around the city, so by hosting fellowship in homes around the city and prayerfully seeking to raise up more homes in strategic hubs of the city, we are able to serve the city better. Community Groups can host block parties, service projects, etc. to be on mission. Someone who is not in church might not drive to church, but they might come to your home to check out a Bible Study or evangelistic conversational night. Bottom line, the CGs take us from our Del Rey Church building zipcode in 90293 and it spreads around to handfuls of zipcodes in the city. We're praying our church can serve the city, this gets us ready.
FIVE ADVANTAGES TO CGs:
1. It undercuts the holy man myth
It allows the congregation to engage in ministry and not just reserve it for the staff pastors. This conveys the biblical idea that we are all ministers of wo/men.
2. It undercuts the holy place myth
It conveys the biblical idea that we are the church as opposed to our church building itself. This teaches our congregation that they are disciples in the home and that the home is holy ground just as the church facilities, if not more.
3. It empowers the so-called laity
It is a natural bridge to frontline ministry. From Community Groups the congregation will have opportunity to do things like counseling, visit the sick, facilitate a Bible study, and even water baptize members from their group.
4. It increases honesty and transparency
Through the size, environment and commitment that is found in the Community Group people will have a chance to BUILD each other (if not WIN) people in the faith. In church on Sunday we spend our time looking at the pastor and the back of everyone else’s head. In CGs people will spend their time looking at each other and learning to be honest and transparent in this safe environment. Introverts and extroverts are both willing to talk in a warm and safe home, whereas only extroverts would speak up in a large church event. This gives everyone a chance to speak and listen and thus it is a place where commitment to Christ and ministry will be cultivated.
5. It makes commonly ignored spiritual disciplines a priority.
Community Groups tend to confront our areas that need improvement by intentionally discussing the ways we need improvement in conjunction with the word of God. Whereas typical Bible studies may never touch on these application issues, CGs are designed to. Even Sunday services allow us to slip away without really changing, but the Community Group provides a higher level of accountability. And many homes will experience transformation as neighbors and even children in the home see adults’ relationship with Christ freshly penetrating the walls of their home.