PURPOSE & GOALS OF OUR MINISTRY
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“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with God’s people, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ as the one who unites you; may you grow together spiritually to be a dwelling place for God.” — Ephesians 2:19-22
This passage from Ephesians provides the basis and direction for our Small Group Ministries at Christ Lutheran. One of the emphases of growing and building our small group ministry is that we want all people to belong here, that even if you come to us as a stranger, you do not stay a stranger for long. In fact, as the passage from Ephesians stresses, because of our shared bond in Christ none of us are ever really a stranger, we are already linked because of our equal reliance on the grace of God through Jesus Christ.
The last part of the Ephesians text also reminds us that our small groups have a very unique purpose—to offer a place for each of us to grow spiritually and to do so together. When we do this we create a dwelling place for God; our deepened faith better allows God to work through each of us for the sake for the world.
This reflection on Ephesians brings us to our definition for small groups at Christ Lutheran which we hope to use regularly to help people understand the purpose of this ministry:
Our hope is that all people at Christ Lutheran might know a sense of belonging while engaging their faith through our small group ministries.
Again, this definition reminds us that small group ministries exist at Christ Lutheran in order to provide belonging. The groups of people who you engage with become your first responder teams to be present with you and for you in both times of joy and sorrow. It is a community of Christian love which seeks to uphold and support you while also stretching you and encouraging you to grow deeper in your faith life.
Our small groups seek to follow a four-fold model of values:
“CARE, PRAY, ENGAGE and SERVE”
CARE – is quite simply about honoring each person by making sure all feel included and cared for in their group. This in application is about doing intentional check-ins with people to learn about who they are and what is going on in everyone’s life.
PRAY – this is what especially sets us apart from secular groups. We ask each group to truly make time for taking prayer requests and praying together as a group.
ENGAGE – each group orients itself and gathers itself in different ways. For some groups this part of the meeting will involve a devotion or Bible study, while for others it’s about engaging in an activity together such as dinner, dominoes, running, learning Spanish, etc.
SERVE – the last piece of the four-fold model is that we ask all groups to participate in a service project each year together.