Vision for Life Church Community Groups
At the very core of Life Church is our passion to partner with Jesus to see more of his Kingdom in Vancouver as it is in heaven. We want to co-labor with God to make all that is upside-down in this world right-side-up again. This is the heart behind everything we do. This is why Life Church exists.
We don’t go to church; we are the church. And as the body of Christ, we cannot experience the fullness of all that we are meant to be until each member uses their unique God-given spiritual gifts to build up the church. God wants his church to be full of people using their gifts to make a difference in the lives of others and the world.
One of the ways that we want to be more intentional about living as the full body of Christ is by starting community groups. This is something that you have heard me mention the last few months.
Let me take this opportunity to share our hopes and dreams for our new community groups.
1. Why are we starting these community groups?
Apprenticeship to Jesus is about being with Jesus, becoming like him, and doing what he did. The church not some place to attend, but it's who we are. It is people (like you and me) who are relearning what it means to be fully human, catching a glimpse of what it means to truly live, joining God in his relentless pursuit to make all that is upside-down in this world right-side-up again. This is the invitation of Jesus to all of us.
But none of this is possible apart from a life that is formed in the context of a community of people who are walking on the same journey with Jesus.
There is an African proverb that goes like this: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” This is true of so many things in life. It’s certainly true in our discipleship to Jesus. Community group is about going on this journey with Jesus together in order to go farther than we can on our own.
2. What will the community groups look like?
What these community groups will specifically look like will be a learning process for all of us. There will be changes and adjustments made along the way as we see what works and what doesn’t. It’s an experiment that we get to try out together.
Our hope is that each community group will be made up of 4-10 people, led by 2 community group leaders. Each group will have their own unique personality and focus based on the makeup of the group and their collective discernment process in prayer.
We want each group to have the freedom to try new things and experiment. But regardless of the particular focus and/or makeup, our desire is for each community group to be a place where these 3 goals are lived out together:
1) Love Jesus
Community group is where we help each other grow in intimacy with Jesus. This may look like prayer, worship, or Bible study. We want to help each other love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. It’s about being with Jesus together.
2) Love one another
Community group is where we help each other learn the way of Jesus. We want to care for each other and help each other grow and mature as disciples, a place where we each discover our place in the body of Christ. It’s about becoming like Jesus together.
3) Love the world
Community group is where we help each other live out the way of Jesus in the world. We want to be outposts of God’s Kingdom, where we experience what it looks like to live out our faith in practical ways. It’s about doing what Jesus did together.
3. How often will the community groups meet?
We are going to try and see how it will work to have these community groups run in 10-week cycles, 3 times a year (fall, winter, and spring). Our hope is that this structure will offer both intentionality and flexibility. We want these groups to be a place where you can go deep with each other, which requires time. But we also don’t want you to feel like you have to sign up for life.
Each group will have the freedom to decide how to spend these 10 weeks together. But our hope is that every group would live out the 3 goals listed above in some meaningful way during the course of the 10 weeks – loving Jesus, loving one another, and loving the world together.
Our prayer is to do a “soft launch” for these community groups this summer. This means that we want you to start getting together to pray and build relationships and just hang out during the summer. You don’t have to commit. But you are seeing if this is a group that you want to be a part of. The fall is when we will have the official launch of our community groups.
4. Who will lead these community groups?
There are currently 4 community groups in various stages in the development process.
1) Angela and I are working with Reba Wong to start a community group for families with school-aged kids in Olympic Village. So far, we met once with a few others to get to know each other and pray for one another. While the group will be open to everyone, we want to be a group where families with school-aged kids can experience deep community, friendship, and support. Whether you are single or married, we want to be a place where adults and school-aged kids can thrive together.
2) Jenn Richards and Joel Butcher are in the early stages of dreaming about a community group that will minister to the people in Olympic Village. Jenn started our Tap & Barrel night to help our neighbours get to know each other and experience community. They are dreaming about how they can continue to grow in genuine friendship with our neighbours and help them experience the love of Jesus.
3) Chad Pope and Nima Tafazzoli are early in the process of starting a community group using the Alpha Course. Alpha is an opportunity to explore life and the Christian faith in a friendly, open and fun environment. Alpha is a series of interactive sessions exploring the basics of the Christian faith. Each session looks at a different question and is designed to create conversation.
4) Brent and Amy Flory are in the early in the process of starting a community group for families with younger kids—from babies to preschoolers. This is an area that is growing in our church community. And it is also a population that is growing in Olympic Village. Their hope is to be a community where these families with young ones can pursue Jesus together and encourage one another.
5. What if I want to help start or lead a community group?
If you want to help start or lead a community group, I would love to sit down and talk with you about in person over coffee. I would love to see many more community groups start this year and next year. In order for us to do that, we need many people in our community to step up and help lead it. We want to see a variety of groups birthed out of different passions and creativity in our community. So, let’s talk. My contact info is below.
6. What if I don’t want to join a community group?
What?!? Are you kidding me?!? How could you not want to join a community group after reading everything I wrote above?!? :)
I understand that there are many reasons why someone may not want to be a part of a community group. Some have had bad experiences in the past. Some feel intimidated by the idea of a group. Others may just not be ready. We want to respect your desire, so no one is going to force you to join a group. You don’t have to be a part of a community group to be a part of our church. Our church doors will always be open to you!
But I do want to strongly encourage you to join a community group. As I mentioned above, you cannot do the Christian journey alone. No person is an island. We can only flourish in community. God never intended for us to go through life alone. We were created for relationship. Sure, relationships can be messy and challenging at times. But what we get in return is priceless! When we experience life surrounded by others who share our love for God, we’ll not only build lasting friendships, but we’ll find that we belong to a family.
7. What if I have other questions?
If you have a question about our community groups, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. You can call me or text me. Or you can talk to me at one of our gatherings. I would be more than happy to talk to you about it.
One last thing: Would you please join me in praying for these community groups? Please pray with me that these community groups will truly be a place where we can help each other be with Jesus, become like him, and do what he did.