Keywords: #smallgroup #mutualcare #missionalcommunity
"For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12:13).
God's word invites believers to be reconciled into the right relationship with God and with others, and that is the beauty of the Church Body. When it comes to spiritual growth, we must remember it also happens in the context of a relationship. What kind of relationship are we talking about?
THE LIVING ROOM RELATIONSHIP
The answer for our church is Living Room Relationship. The image of a living room is quite clear. It's a commonplace where the family gathers. A living room is a place of sharing. Not only that, it's an inviting and acceptable space for guests to hang out. So in a sense, a living room is meant for friends to naturally permeate and weave their life stories together under a communal setting. Similarly, in a Christ-centred living room, relationships ought to be distinctive, marked with the love of the Triune God. To do so, some crucial elements contribute to such relationships.
THREE CRUCIAL ELEMENTS
1. ROOTED IN THE LIVING WORD
Relationships have to be built on the Word of God. The Word of God is living and active. It is something we can taste and experience. It is not just learning about the Word but experiencing the Word. Your group needs to experience Christ. When we talk about the Word, it must move beyond the head knowledge of contents into a genuine encounter of the Living God. This does not mean we are moving away from the Bible—but as you study the Scripture, we want to see Jesus. We want to help each other to spot Jesus in our lives. In every text, you want the group to discover Jesus and his redemptive work.
Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” The Gospel living begins with a complete surrender to the Master—Jesus. The Living Room is a place to face our need to kneel before God, and to surrender our whole lives to Him. It's a place for us to be vulnerable and real with issues. The shapes and sizes of issues will differ, but we embrace them together under the illumination of the Scripture. Remember:
The community itself shall not be the ultimate commitment, but a commitment to the Living Word. It is the Word of God that transforms and sustains love in the community.
2. BELONGING TO THE COMMUNITY
A Community is like a sports team. Healthy and growing groups have an increasing sense of community. Sometimes people rejoice together, and sometimes they share sorrow together. Each group might start as "John's group," but eventually, it should become "our group." Community is the context we learn to live the incarnated life. Jesus wept over Nazareth (John 11:35), and for the city of Jerusalem (Luke 19:41). Jesus ate with tax collectors and prostitutes. He lived with the disciples who were the least of the society. The Good News comes alive when people faithfully practice the incarnate life of Jesus. This is what community is really about; yet, this is also where we find the difficult task of a genuine community. Conflicts and issues arise when we start “living it” together. But there is hope! Like Jesus who broke the barrier between Heaven and earth, between the Jews and Gentiles, we too have a long mission to break the walls between differences, generations, characters, and even how we practice faith.
The goal is to be part of God's motion in shaping people. Turn to God while there is friction between brothers and sisters. Feel His warmth.
3. PROGRESSIVE LIFE-CHANGE AND IMPACT
Healthy small groups are about life-change and the Great Commission. Living Room is a platform to follow the footsteps of Jesus Christ together. This place is not a Bible Study group, nor is it a social club. This is the place where we come as where we are, with open hands ready to be renewed by the work of the Holy Spirit. Every question we ask in the discussions will be practical and they are intended to challenge you to think, live, and do differently.
If so, the group is growing deeper and more lives are changed. Making impact is not a magical skill. It is God who can make impact on people's lives. Our job is to sense and join in the work that Jesus is continuously and actively doing in our lives. And, our God is always at mission. Because it is an organism as the “Christ who lives in me” that allows me to “live by faith in the Son of God” (Gal 2:20).
Thus, the Body of community is alive, active, and is a multiplying organism. Let us activate this.
NO DISCIPLESHIP! NO CHURCH!
We are implementing a new way of thinking towards spiritual growth. We are switching from a “destination focused process” in discipleship to a “direction focused” discipleship. What this entails for us is that maturity in Christ is an ongoing process without an endpoint on earth. Therefore, maturity is measured by the direction that a Christian is moving—either toward Christ or away from Christ. This new way of thinking eliminates the idea that becoming more like Jesus is based on achievement or how much we know.
Living Room is a platform for fulfilling the Great Commission.
Discipleship is not a production line of Christians (input and output approach), or even designed for exclusively high-qualified believers. Discipleship should be approached with the intention to meet all, or at least most of the comprised group's needs and uniqueness in their journey of faith. In other words, discipleship process should look different in every person; therefore, a smaller-sized group will be the most appropriate ground to initiate God's mission of making disciples. In sum, discipleship is a dynamic process, partnering with the work of God in the lives of people.
Guidance and study materials for each Living Room will be hand-picked by our pastor and each leader will be provided with training, guidance, and mentorship along the way. As people move towards the same direction, some will make their decision to commit more to Jesus. They can also be trained as Living Room leaders to continue making disciples, and continue multiplying
As an ongoing part of discipleship, Living Room will be considered one of the easiest and primary places where people can connect and align themselves to move toward Christ-following life.