The church is a gospel centered community on mission. How should this affect the groups that the church runs?
The groups that a church runs should not be about the group itself but about the gospel. So whether it’s a men’s breakfast, a book club or an old people’s lunch, the purpose is not primarily to eat breakfast, read a book or serve others, but to encourage each other in the gospel. Serving the community, running a coffee morning or doing a youth club could all be worthwhile with a gospel focus, but could all be a waste of time if they are an end in themselves. A bible study group is not just about studying the Bible, as though it was a textbook, but helping each other to delve into what the Bible reveals about God.
Just because a group is happening, doesn’t necessarily mean that a gospel-centered community is being built. Any group provides a great opportunity to form biblical community, but we can not assume that it will happen naturally, we need to work at it. It’s worth asking whether the various programmes at the church are building community or making it more difficult. Are they engaging those on the fringes of the church? Or are they just taking up more time of the people who come to everything? People need opportunities to be talking to each other, praying with each other and getting into the bible together.
Whatever the make-up of the group or it’s reasons for forming, the members can support each other in mission and be on mission together. The group becomes the context for mission rather than an isolated, individual activity. Do people understand the purpose of the coffee morning is to build relationships with non-christians, not just to chat with their church friends?