At Risen Hope, we embody this truth through Groups. These are a smaller gatherings of believers who meet regularly as a family. We grow deeper in relationship with each other as we grow deeper in relationship with God.
This is what the body of Christ should like. Groups are the church in her native environment. They are the real deal and not a byproduct of logistics or a schedule or a program. Groups feel like family. They eat together. They play together. They pray together. And they serve together. And, ultimately, Groups exist to know God and to show him in both word and deed to their community.
INGREDIENTS FOR GROUPS
Acts 2:42 depicts the first church and its growth in this way: (1) being rooted in the Bible, (2) taking place in homes and around dinner tables, and (3) fueled by constant prayer. These are the basic ingredients of the church, and they’re the basic ingredients of Groups at Risen Hope. In Groups, we enjoy regular gatherings around dinner tables and coffee shops and in the normal ebb and flow of life, with people who genuinely care for us, pray for us, and walk with us as we pursue God together. The early church looks like a family that loves each other and this is our goal with Groups: to be a family on mission in our neighborhoods for the glory of Christ.
ARE SUNDAY GATHERINGS ENOUGH?
The purpose of our church gathering on Sundays is ultimately to equip the body so they can be the church wherever they find themselves (Ephesians 4:11-13). Although Sundays should be revered and enjoyed, they were never designed to be the focus of the church’s spiritual life. They are not ultimate, but rather a means to an end (Mark 2:27). Risen Hope’s desire for Sunday is that it provides the foundation and fuel for what happens during the week, especially as fellowship occurs in Groups.
The church lives life during the course of a given week, where the highs and the lows are, the peaks and valleys of life. Sundays are designed to prepare the body for this. Acts 2:46-47 says that the church was “day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes,” and that “they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people.” This is the kind of daily living that Sunday’s corporate worship should drive us toward.
FAMILY OF FAITH
The extraordinary generosity within the early church witnessed in the Book of Acts (2:44-45; 4:32-35) is not the result of an artificial church program or obedience to some kind of a first century church checklist, but the result of genuine God-wrought love between brothers and sisters in Christ. This is the heart beat of our Groups. Without a family that is united and growing deeper in their love for both God and each other, this will never happen.
What this means is that Groups must first be family and cannot simply be a social gathering or a Bible study or an accountability group: though all of these are good things. Groups must first be family and have their door open to neighbors and friends. Without a family ethos driving the culture of a Group, it will be a lifeless and heartless program that will focus on itself, and not a group of believers poised to love each other through difficult circumstances and to pursue the glory of Christ in their neighborhoods no matter the cost. This is why Groups exist at Risen Hope.
If you’re interested in learning more about Groups or even in connecting with one, send us a mail by clicking the link below!