To learn about life, somefolks watch FoxNews or C-SPAN. Me, I watch another, more personal program called C-Group. Never heard of this channel before? Well, you will never see it on a t.v. line-up, because this is the first channel in real ‘living color’- a local community group through Karis Community Church.
Tonight is my night to attend the Yoder Community Group with Grant and Susan Yoder, Dan and Dusti Szy, Darin Tuck, Bethany Bowen, and me! During the summer we are sure missing Pam Zimmerlee and Alex Pfieffer! What a joyous time it is gathering together in the Yoder’s home, eating some vegetarian cuisine and sharing stories about our lives and then have some time reading scripture and praying for each other!
The following is a recent essay I wrote for The Porterbrook Network regarding using c-groups for being missional in our city; what are the strengths and weaknesses of our time together; how it makes a difference in my life.
Keeping It Missional
At Karis, we have 16 community groups in the church, such that all the members and visitors can or do attend a community group around Columbia. It is a wonderful time to fellowship in small groups such that I can go there knowing the stories of those I eat with around a table. They know me and I know them and we begin to know each other’s fears, struggles, weaknesses. I can appreciate each of the members of my c-group because they are honest, open, and fellow believers.
Although, some community groups have unbelievers. And some attendees are not too regular with attending Karis gatherings, but perhaps only attend c-group, as they view it as another Bible-study perhaps, or they like the leader, or enjoy eating together around the table. So many reasons can draw-in new folks to a c-group.
Eating together is a great missional activity because folks connect around food. Most great parties have snacks at least. Weddings always have some sort of reception. Any holiday party has food. Memorial Day had barbeques to attend; Thanksgiving brings family around a turkey; July 4th brings people around me…and watermelon. We are a social people- that includes having food. At my previous church, our care groups had snacks afterwards, but having full meals are such a welcoming and inviting activity. Sometimes pretzels don’t cut it.
The lessons we do sometimes are a bit deep for visitors. Or they can be, if the leader and other regular believers do not recognize the opportunity to include simple truths in the discussion. Perhaps a great way to have discussion using the in-depth material we cover would be to have folks be encouraged to be open and honest about faults and struggles and remind each other of the gospel as sharing takes place. Reminding each other of simple truths in humility shows an acceptable environment where healing and love is desired.
I know my group’s discussion can get a bit technical. This is great when we are there as believers wanting to learn more and parse out scripture, as in a fight club. It is not as great if we were to have unbelieving visitors or any new folks, which rarely happens.
Perhaps our minds should be more focused on using the c-groups as a way to introduce people to Karis, instead of relying only visitors to Sunday gatherings to invite to c-group.
Do you attend a small group or regular meeting where you can share life, be open and real, and eat a lot of cookies? Comment below about your experiences. If you are not a Believer in Christ, do you feel you are missing real, loving fellowship with close friends? Then try visiting a local gathering of Christians that wants you there and makes you feel welcome.