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Life Groups

Life Groups are basic Christian communities of 6 to 12 people meeting in a home where together we enjoy community, think biblically and engage culture.

We view Life Groups as the natural place for discipleship and evangelism to occur as groups of friends walk together through both the joys and sorrows of life. In Life Groups, people come to know God and to experience His presence in the context of a loving and safe community where confidences are kept and people are nurtured, equipped and released for God’s work in the world.

Our hope is that Life Groups provide an opportunity for people to make at least 5 close friends with whom they can experience true spiritual friendship, mutual support, practical love and service, learning about the Christian faith, prayer, and sharing of what we see God doing in our midst. Life Groups are led by trained lay-leaders who are given ongoing support.

In sum, we envision Life Groups being the following…

1. A Place to Worship and Follow Jesus with Others

When Life Groups meet, the main focus is for people to experience Christ’s presence in us by the work of his Spirit who ministers to us and through us to one another. Experiencing Christ in our midst means that we will also experience change. Our desires will be transformed by Christ leading to our hearts, world, and community.

2. A Place For Friendship

True friendship in our culture is rare. Most friendships tend to be based on proximity and convenience. Friendship in Scripture, especially Christian friendship, takes on a more covenantal tone. We have union with Christ, and thus also one another. This means that (1) God has chosen to put us together for a reason, (2) our friendships have a deeper foundation (Christ himself!) than conventional friendships, and therefore (3) friendships in the church have the potential acting as vehicles of redemption both for ourselves, as the gospel transforms our hearts in community, and for the world around us, as we move outward together in the power of the gospel.

Friendships allow us to share with others what God has taught you through his word, while also giving them the ability to share with you what they know of him. In Scripture, we are told to encourage one another, serve one another, rejoice and weep with one another, correct, instruct, sing to, build up, accept and love one another. Life Groups provide one of the best ways to put yourself in a position to experience these life-giving aspects of Christian friendship.

3. A Place Where Gifts Are Exercised

Each member of Christ’s body is given both gifts and duties. We all have the duty of serving Christ and one another in and out of love, though some may have a gift of serving. We sometimes think of these gifts as special abilities, akin to superpowers of a sort. However, gifts should not be thought of in this way, because (1) it leads to creating a hierarchy of value for gifts (some gifts/people being more important) and (2) it tends toward making us self-reliant (tapping into our ‘special ability’) rather than reliant on God. Paul’s description of gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:24-26 leads us away from this understanding of spiritual gifts. He emphasizes that it is God who gives us these gifts and that the gifts we perceive in our earthly wisdom to be lesser/weaker are in reality those we should hold in high esteem because of the high place they hold within God’s economy. Life Groups are a place where spiritual gifts are discovered and exercised within the group itself, within the larger church, and to the world. They are a place where a vision for ministry and service are developed.

4. A Place To Discover Christianity

Life Groups are a place for people who are exploring Christianity. Our desire is for Life Groups to be welcoming communities where the gospel naturally comes up in conversations as we remind one another of what God has done for us in Christ and encourage one another to share the hope that is within. Life Groups can either be used for both evangelism and for discipleship at the same time. Our aim is to experience Christ in our midst through worship, prayer, and study of Scripture. As we do this, we will find that we are both building up believers and challenging non-believers.

As a result, Life Groups need to have a vision for developing new leadership within existing groups that will seek out and make room through multiplication for those who are new to the church and exploring Christianity.

Want more information? Contact Micah! P: 248.685.3560  E: micah@opcmilford.org