It’s that time of year again — Lifegroup kick-off season here at Vista. We see evidence of the value and importance of Biblical community throughout Scripture. One particular picture is the first church in Acts. Can you imagine if the church still operated this way?
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. –Acts 2:42-47
In Lifegroups we are learning to honor God and to obey all that Jesus commands (worship); we are learning to live in grace while offering it to others (relational); and we are moving together into the spiritual and physical poverty of our communities (missional).
Christianity isn’t an individual sport; instead followers of Jesus find their greatest health, joy and purpose through community. Our Creator is a community – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus modeled transformational community with his disciples, and nearly every page of the New Testament talks about how to live well with “one another.”
Carry one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2)
Speak truthfully to one another (Eph 4:25)
Look to the interests of one another (Phil 2:4)
Admonish one another (Col 3:16)
Build up one another (1 Th 5:11)
Confess our sins to one another (Jas 5:16)
Offer hospitality to one another (1Pet 4:9)
Lay down our lives for one another (1Jn 3:16)
We encourage everyone to gather with a small group of friends every-other-week for gospel-rich and authentic community, mutual encouragement, support, care, and challenge and by being missional every-other-other-week (if not all the time) to our friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc.
Lifegroups study, rehash, dig into and try to practically apply the Word of God preached on Sunday. We publish weekly Sermon Application studies instead of asking leaders to prepare or conduct a secondary Bible study, for two reasons: first, we challenge our Lifegroup leaders to use their time to meet with others, and to live out and create missional opportunities for their group; second, God’s Word needs to be pressed down into our minds and souls through deeper discussion and debate and through real-life application. It’s not more knowledge, but more transformation that Jesus demands.
Finally, we believe the best pastoral care happens through existing relationships and shared experience – this is one of the primary motivations in encouraging everyone to be involved in biblical community like Lifegroups. Together we can help one another walk through difficult times. We pray through the God-ordained fires and trials of life, that we might become more Christ-like and that we might ultimately bring more attention to the strength and compassion of God!
Are you enjoying some sort of Biblical community, whether it be Lifegroup, a men’s or women’s group? I encourage you to take a step this season in that direction — you won’t regret it! Check out vistacommunitychurch.org/groups for a listing of Lifegroups and also men’s and women’s groups. Reach out to a few leaders and consider checking out a group. If it’s not a fit, don’t sweat it, just try another!