Our gospel community has been experimenting with the time we dedicate to our growth as followers of Jesus; the ‘upwards’ component of our life together if you will. Having done the ‘home group thing’ for many years, we’ve been looking for something that takes us beyond just studying the Bible and into applying it, learning together and seeing real change in our lives. If we are going to live as a missional community, we need to ensure we are all living as active followers of Jesus, otherwise it’s all puff and smoke.
I wanted to share some encouraging signs that we are learning how to do this just a little.
Our home group used to do something like: eat, quick word of prayer, Bible study – great discussion, interesting stuff, little time for real application though we gave it lip-service, ran out of time to pray very much.
Our new ‘discipleship-focused’ evenings together go something like the following:
- Eat together (some things never change – this is France after all!). Make sure we maintain the friendship (‘in’ dimension).
- Introductory prayer (yes, ok, so it’s the same so far, just wait…)
- Somebody shares some scripture that has spoken to them during the week. We spend a few minutes delving into that (asking a few simple questions to help us engage simply and directly with the text). Nothing too complicated, but we just want to give time to hearing the Word. Up to now it has been me sharing (to model the process) but I hope that soon other people will proactive start bringing scripture to the group.
- We then focus on getting everyone to engage with ‘what is God saying and what are you going to do about it’. First of all we follow up from commitments and issues arising from last time. Then we work through these questions with a few members of the group. The language provided by Life Shapes has been very helpful here.
- We then ensure 15-20 minutes of prayer outwards for friends, mission, the world and so forth, to ensure an ‘outward’ component to the evening.
We’re just getting into this rhythm but I found this week’s session very powerful and encouraging. People had been on the look out for ‘Kairos moments‘ in their lives where God was speaking to them and we really started to process these as a group. We engaged around subjects such as perseverance, perspective in midst of work concerns, being an example to others, finding people of peace. It was a powerful time that brought life and faith tightly together.
We’re still in very early days: we are learning to disciple and be discipled but my hope is growing that this stuff actually works! After all, learning to follow Jesus and respond to His call is what it’s all about, and learning to do that a bit more is very exciting! Stay tuned for more updates as to what we find as we continue down this learning path.