It seems like small groups are the hip thing in churches these days. There are so many trends and fads that blow through the church world that we can all get a little cynical about things. While I share your tendency towards cynicism, I also recognize that this isn’t a good aspect of my character.
Because the fact is, when we look at how the Bible describes the early Church structure it is abundantly clear that small gatherings of believers were an essential element. It’s also clear that these small groupings of followers of Jesus were one of the reasons for the early Church’s rapid expansion across the globe.
Please allow me a moment to describe to you what Hope Communities are at Living Hope Church. It may be different than what you are used to.
The Four Basic Elements
- WORD – We get into the Bible together. This is not an instructional teaching time, but rather a group of believers interacting with the Word of God together.
- FELLOWSHIP – Friendship is an essential piece of the Christian life. Getting to know each other is best done in smaller groupings of people so that we can avoid shallow relationships.
- PRAYER – One of the primary ways we “bear one another’s burdens” is through prayer. In a small setting, people get to know each other better which informs how we pray. This makes these groups a great place to pray for each other.
- MISSION – Every Christian is a missionary. We believe that the best place to get on the mission of God is in a smaller group. This allows our efforts to be focused while also not creating administrative bottlenecks at the church office. It also means that everyone gets to participate, even if they are not outgoing “evangelist” personality types.
If you are not currently in a Hope Community, please make an effort to find one. I know that it’s hard to show up cold to a group like this. You’re afraid everyone will know each other and you will be a third wheel. You’re afraid you won’t fit in. Or that you won’t have time. There are a million and one reasons not to do it.
It’s worth it. It really is. Pressing in to face-to-face relationships will always yield growth and blessing in your life. It will be good for you, and for them, even if it’s hard.
And remember, that group needs you. It needs your presence. It needs your gift. It needs you.