Over time, four characteristics have emerged from living a life in community. These characteristics are born out of the values of Fellowship Greenville and result from focusing on the mission of God. There must be gospel motivation leading to Christ being magnified in each member of God’s church. When we focus on these values, the following characteristics become recognizable within groups.
1. Mission - Intentionally helping group members realign their lives with God’s mission.
As followers of Christ, it’s all too easy to wander from the ministry of reconciliation that Christians have received. There’s a constant need for brothers and sisters in the church to call each other back to God’s mission—to call each other back to the path of Gospel motivation and declaration. Groups are in a perpetual process of realignment around God’s mission, a mission that keeps each member focused on the gospel. We are God’s “plan A” to tell the world about Christ, and we often need to be reminded of that.
2. Growth - Intentionally disciple and motivate one another for life change with the Gospel.
Like trees planted by a stream, groups are planted in the Gospel—which is the key to personal growth, group growth, and church growth. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “The Christ in his own heart is weaker than the Christ in the word of his brother; his own heart is uncertain, his brother is sure.” Groups that are motivated by the gospel share the gospel with each other and with the world. As this happens, each group member is discipled, grows in their faith, and each group grows as its members grow. Then, we see the Church grow as community groups grow.
3. Care - Intentionally caring for the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of others.
John 13:35, “By this, all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Love is a marker for all followers of Christ. This love and concern for others was modeled by Jesus and is mirrored by his Church. If Christians are to love one another, then it’s revealed in their physical care, emotional care, and spiritual care for others. Groups that are growing in the marks of a disciple are then caring for others in a way that’s gospel evident.
4. Fellowship - Intentionally communicating and investing to help the group share life.
Fellowship is built on Jesus, the cornerstone, but building takes time while also requiring investment and intentionality. Investment asks for our most precious resource—time. Community groups are marked by time together, but time is only a piece of fellowship. Intentionality is necessary and ushers in authenticity. If there’s no authenticity, then there’s no true fellowship. True fellowship between believers flows from a relationship with God first and others second. It’s unique as all believers are members of the same body. Christ is the head, and his Church is the body. What can be more intimate than being members of the same body?
These characteristics all require intentionality. They don’t happen by chance or result from passivity. Mind you; every community group may not excel in each of these areas. As Scripture continues to change each person in each group, true life change happens. Community groups are the space for every person to be changed by the power of the Gospel. As we value these characteristics, let’s be reminded of Ephesians 3:10, “so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.”
If by reading this, you’ve found that you’d like to either join or lead a community group, head to fellowshipgreenville.org/communitygroups for more information on both training and leading.
*We are a church located in Greenville, South Carolina. Our vision is to see God transform us into a community of grace passionately pursuing life and mission with Jesus.*
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