If you have attended The Fellowship at Bend for any length of time, you’ve probably heard someone mention the term “Community Group.” It might remind you of “small groups” or “home groups” at a previous church, or any number of other terms that the church at large has adopted to describe a non-Sunday gathering of believers. But, depending on the specific body of believers, these groups can look different and have different objectives. This post will clear up what the term “Community Group” means to TFAB.
Why “Community Groups”?
The goal of Community Groups at TFAB ties in with our overarching threefold mission: Glorify God, Testify of Christ, and Edify the Body. It is this approach that informs how our groups operate and their purpose in our church.
Developing Relationships as a Gospel-centered Family
The first objective of “Community Group” is, of course, building community. It is hard to form deep relationships if you’re limited to the sliver of time before and after a gathering on Sunday. You may get in a “hello, how are you” and a handshake, but with time constraints and a large group of people gathered, it can be difficult to really dig into God’s word together without a change in setting.
So, first off, Community Groups exist to facilitate the building of gospel-centered community, gathering together to Glorify God.
We do this by breaking into smaller gatherings in a host home during the week to discuss that Sunday’s teaching. Groups are as unique as the people involved. For some, a mealtime precedes biblical discussion. Other groups are comprised of people with small children for whom an early bedtime is a priority. If you’re not in a group yet, but would like to get involved, consider talking to the group host or leader first to get a sense of how that specific group operates, where they’re located, and so on.
Doing Life Together on Gospel Mission
Just as Community Groups exist to allow deeper connections that are not confined to Sunday mornings, so also Community Groups don’t end with their weekly meeting time. As you grow in your relationships with other believers at TFAB, our hope is that those relationships would expand beyond your group into the community of Bend at large. Rather than being a church that hides from the culture around us, we want to reach out into Bend and Testify of Jesus to our local community.
How this looks practically will depend on your group. It could be that you organize events and agree to invite outsiders and non-believers. It could be a time of service together in the community. It could be something else that arises based on your group’s situation. In any case, we encourage groups to reach beyond the borders of their weekly or bi-weekly meetings to impact the greater Bend community together.
Discipleship through Relationship
Discipleship is built on relationship, first with Jesus and then with other believers. In order to encourage, edify, and help each other in times of need, we must first know the needs of those around us. As you get to know the people in your Community Group through studying the word of God together, you will become better able to speak into their lives as you labor side-by-side in love, grace, and truth. Community Groups provide a space to Edify each other regularly through the gospel.
Living in community is a vital part of the Christian life. In community we are able to hold each other accountable, support each other through trials, and encourage others to continue growing in their walk with Christ, even as we are edified by those around us. At TFAB, Community Groups are one way that we pursue our mission of Glorifying God, Testifying of Christ, and Edifying the Body.
If you have not joined a Community Group, but are interested in getting involved, we will be relaunching our current groups and adding some new ones in the fall. For details in the meantime, contact our Executive Pastor, Ben Delery, at email@example.com.