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What LIFEgroup Learn from Jesus and the Early Church

One of the highest values at Calvary is the authority of Scripture. What we do with our LIFEgroups must be guided by the instructions given to us by Scripture. Some of the clearest teachings in the Bible are the commands given to us by Jesus. Every church should get its “marching orders” from these commands.

Mark 12 gives the account of an Old Testament scholar who inquired of Jesus which was the greatest command. Jesus’ answer was two-fold. He identified loving God as the most important command. He then identified a second similar command which was to be followed, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus taught that these two commands were the foundation for all others.

John 13 tells the story of Jesus’ last meal with his disciples before his death. During this meal, he told the disciples he had a “new” command for them. He said they were to “love one another”. This is more than just a restatement of His “love your neighbor” command. This was a third command that held great significance for the future church.

When Jesus told his disciples to love their neighbor, he used the term “neighbor” as a universal expression meaning everyone. By using the term “one another”, He was indicating a scope which was limited to specific group of people. The only people present when Jesus gave this command were His loyal followers. The only disciple who was not a true follower (Judas) had just left the meal. While the second command (love your neighbor) was a timeless principle, originating in the Mosaic law; this command was a new one, given to help launch the new church.

The role of the church is to enable Jesus’ followers to obey Jesus’ commands. This means that every church should exist to help people love God, love those around them, and love the other followers of Christ.

Acts 2:42-47 gives us a vivid picture of how Jesus’ first followers lived this out. Four key words help us understand how Calvary is living out these relationships, particularly through LIFEgroups:
  • “devoted” (vs. 42) – Being part of the church is a crucially important element of a person’s life; LIFEgroups allow someone to be devoted to relationships rather than programs or meeting times.
  • “everyone” (vs. 43) – No one was sitting on the sidelines of the Acts 2 church. Because of their size, LIFEgroups provide an environment in which everyone can actively participate.
  • “together” (vs. 44) – Lone Rangers were not an option in Acts 2. Individualism was non-existent; LIFEgroups are formed on the idea that Christians should be living life together with other Christians, not alone.
  • “every day” (vs. 46) – Acts 2 believers were Christians seven days a week. There were no “Sunday-only” believers; LIFEgroups emphasize the importance of Christianity beyond the regular Sunday gatherings.


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21 Bible Passages With Which Every Small Group Leader Should Be Familiar

Matthew 5:23-24.
23"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

Luke 10:1-11.
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SOAPY Bible Study

In the past, I've written about and talked about the SOAP method of Bible study. This is a simple Bible study method which can be utilized by an individual or a small group. All you need is a passage of Scripture and 15-30 minutes (a journal is helpful).

Many churches use this method of Bible study for their groups. Some have modified the SOAP method by adding a Y. Read more about it below:

This Bible study is an intentional focused effort of growing in the understanding of the scriptures. This form of study will assist in the transformation of our inner lives as we mature in understanding and in faith.
Set aside 15 minutes every day for the study. You might want to take more time after you have gotten started. Don’t overload yourself in the beginning. Keep a “soapy” journal because there will be the need to write everyday. As you develop your routine, share what you are learning with your Discipleship Group, Sunday school class, Circle, other groups in which you participate, or …