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Getting the BIG PICTURE!

Communities Connecting to God and Others

Maybe you've spent some time thinking about how LIFEGroups fit into the "BIG PICTURE" at Calvary? The following thoughts might help you work through some of the ideas, as well as to help you consider your role in helping people connect to God and others.

  1. We envision connecting people to God. (Matthew 28:19-20)
  1. True connection to God happens through discipleship (Matthew 28:19-20). Discipleship is dependent on relationships. Therefore we desire to connect people to one another.
  1. We believe these connections can be identified in three relationships every Christ-follower engages in:
    1. A relationship with God which is characterized by love. (Mark 12:30)
    2. A relationship with our neighbors which is characterized by love. (Mark 12:31)
    3. A relationship with other believers which is characterized by love. (John 13:34)
  1. We recognize that significant development of relationships in a large church is often hampered by the size of the church. Therefore we desire to be a church consisting of many different smaller communities.
  1. Our desire is to be “Communities Connecting to God and Others”.
  1. We attempt to clarify the process of discipleship by identifying five activities in which every follower of Christ should participate.
    1. Explore. Every person should take stock of their current state, examine the offer Christ extends, and seek understanding of the commitment required to enter the kingdom of God.
    2. Launch. Once convinced, every convert to the way of Jesus should publicly declare their new relationship with Jesus and His church through the sacrament of baptism.
    3. Spiritual FormationPartner. Because the Christian life is best lived in shared relationship with other believers, every Christ-follower should identify themselves with a community of believers for the purpose of being formed to the image of Christ and of being a formative influence in the lives of others.
    4. Serve. Because Christ is lord of all we have (our resources, our gifts, our time, etc.), we are to utilize all we have in the way we believe Jesus would. Therefore, since the example of Jesus was one of sacrifice and service, every believer should seek to use all their resources to sacrificially serve all with whom they come into contact.
    5. engage the worldEngage. The true sign of a kingdom subject is multiplication. Those who have accepted life of Christ in place of their own demonstrate their faith by acting like Christ in the world. In death, Christ redeemed sinners, thus we seek to bring that redemption to all within our circles of influence. Throughout his life, Christ relieved suffering, thus we strive to relieve suffering whenever we encounter it.
7. To better enable the people of Calvary to participate in these activities we have determined to utilize our corporate resources and energy to grow formative, caring, and missional communities to foster the spiritual development of our people.

8. The foundational identity of our communities is “a group of individuals sharing their lives together for the glory of God.”

9. We believe that communities which are effectively growing together spiritually will exhibit a healthy balance of the following three characteristics:

    1. Spiritual formation. All community members will build into each others lives enabling each member to open themselves to the work of the Holy Spirit as He forms them to the image of Christ who is the perfect representation of the Father. This formative activity may happen through a variety of means including, but not limited to: Bible study and application, prayer together, Scripture memorization, accountability relationships, meditation, times of encouragement, and more.
    2. Caring relationships. The needs of every community member are regularly met as each person in the community exercises their gifts. Following the example of the Acts church, as community members help one another discover their gifts, they will become better equipped to use the diversity of their gifts to ensure no one goes without.
    3. Missional activities. Every community recognizes the importance of thinking beyond simple meetings. Thus, a key focus of the community is encouragement and training toward sharing the Gospel. Following the example of Christ, each community sets aside time regularly to meet the needs of others outside the group and outside the church.
* there will likely be more in this series, but it may not be for a while!

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