What are Community Groups like?
You will have the chance to develop deeper relationships
With hundreds of people at our weekend worship gatherings, it can be hard to connect with people and get to know one another at a deeper level. Community Groups provide the opportunity to build God-centered friendships, receive care, offer care to others, pray together and go deeper. The hope is that you are consistently and intimately involved in community in such a way that your presence is significant and your absence is noticed. Without depth of relationship with others who pursue Jesus, its easy to revert to old lifestyles, become cynical, give up hope, or burn out on religion.
You will be challenged to grow as a “theologian"
When Jesus was tempted in the desert to produce bread from stones, he answered, “It is written: ‘People do not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God'” (Matthew 4:4). While we all eat food pretty regularly, it’s often difficult to get into the routine of feeding on the Word of God, which is actually the sustenance for our soul. In a healthy group, we see “feeding” on Scripture as extremely vital, not just as individuals, but as the collective body of Christ in community. Community Groups generally study through books of the Bible together and each member of the group is asked to come prepared having read through the Scripture and ready to contribute to the discussion.
You will have the opportunity to serve
Jesus called us to “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
Community Groups are a place where people have the opportunity to serve one another regularly in love. This may happen in the form of praying for each other, providing meals for the group time, helping each other when there are needs, and more. Community Groups also serve our local and global community by getting involved in service projects together. We desire to be a church that represents Jesus to community through love and service.
Groups will strive to be a “safe space”
Groups must be places where people feel connected, forgiven, accountable, accepted, prayed for, supported and extended grace. It’s only when these factors are present that safety can be felt and true intimacy can occur.
In community, we must continually be reminded of the truth of our freedom and new life in Jesus... and the fact that life is spotted with set backs, mess ups and dark nights of the soul. Community Groups strive to be a safe space for people to vulnerable with others about the details of their journeys- including their feelings, circumstances and relationship with God.
You will be encouraged toward continual growth into the likeness of Jesus
As we follow Jesus, we are in a continual process of growth towards maturity and wholeness, as it says in Ephesians 4, “so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Though we are never quite finished growing, God continues to encourage those who love and follow Him to pursue growth, that we might be made “like Christ” (Romans 8). We can’t just plant something and expect it to grow- growth is an intentional pursuit and one tended to with discipline and patience. In a Community Group striving for growth together, we experience giving and receiving advice, accountability, correction and encouragement, and the awareness that our actions affect the Body.
A leader will care for you
Leaders are responsible to host and oversee Community Groups, giving guidance and leadership while also encouraging the group to care for itself. Community Groups usually meet in the leader’s home during the week and each leader has received specific training for their role and receives ongoing training, encouragement, communication and support from the VFC staff and leadership.