They exist in many churches, under various names, with a multitude of purposes: Home Groups, Cell Groups, Small Groups, Bible Study, Community Groups, and so the list could go on. But captured in that litany of names reveals what we think are the key purposes for and reasons you should get into a Growth Group at Christ Church Umhlanga.
You can break down their purpose into three interrelated categories:
- Study the Bible together, applying it to the Christian life and struggles
- Pray together
- Create a small community within the church that can support and cares for one another
As is alluded to above, those categories are closely linked, even inseparable. When we ask the questions: “How should I pray?” or “What should I pray for?” we get the best answers in the Bible, as we respond prayerfully and thoughtfully to God’s revealed will. When we desire to create community and care in the local church we discover what that looks like as we seek to apply God’s inspired truth lovingly and discerningly. We also don’t want to form groups that are little more than ‘baptised book clubs’, getting together to merely study and discuss the Bible; together we work hard at applying God’s Word to one another, our own lives, the shape of the church community, and the content of our prayers.
So, to state the above points slightly differently, Growth groups are a bunch of Christians who sit together weekly: (1) around God’s Word to discuss, learn, and grow in knowledge of the truth; (2) under God’s Word to respond in faith, repentance, joy, and prayer; and (3) sharing God’s Word with each other as we apply the truth to both our thinking and living. We believe at Christ Church Umhlanga that meaningful community and care is inseparable from learning from God how that community should live, what it should look like, and how we must love.
Here are a couple of quotes, for the meantime:
Worship is humble and glad; worship forgets itself in remembering God; worship celebrates the truth as God's truth, not its own. True worship doesn't put on a show or make a fuss; true worship isn't forced, isn't half-hearted, doesn't keep looking at its watch, doesn't worry what the person in the next pew may be doing. True worship is open to God, adoring God, waiting for God, trusting God even in the dark - N. T. Wright
He won victory through suffering; his followers win theirs through sharing in his - N. T. Wright
We are trusting Christ for our soul's salvation, but still carrying ourselves all our own daily anxieties - Alan Stibbs
Diamonds are valuable because they are rare and hard to make. God is infinitely valuable because He is the rarest of all beings and cannot be made at all, nor was He ever made - John Piper
God gives us knowledge so that we might glorify him: serve, love, obey, and believe in him. So give him all the honour and glory that is due from poor sinful creatures to a sin-pardoning God and Creator. - John Owen
Christ doesn't only save us from the hell that sin is taking us to, but the sin that is taking us to hell - Conrad Mbewe
In a very real sense, we are saved by works: Christ's - Michael Horton