Over the last few years many of our current homegroups and small groups have come to a natural end. People who have faithfully led groups have felt it the right time to step down, the leaders of some groups have died or chosen to move on, and others have been looking for a different vibe while still wanting to be part of a small group. I want to say a huge thank you to all who have, and still do, lead one of our small groups.
– Rev Rob Hinton, Vicar (December 2020)
So I want to invite you to be part of the new small group ministry at Christ Church Beckenham:
As we go forward, we are going to draw heavily on the experience of Saddleback Church in America, where Rick Warren is the Senior Pastor, and follow their tried and tested pattern of filling our small group counters with ‘cheeses’ of different colours:
Membership of the body of Christ means that we can identify with a family – God’s family. The church in Acts was a fellowship where people “ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” Jesus shared his life as well as his ministry with a close group of followers – he saw the value of close relationships. Small groups should be safe, supportive and enjoyable.
Again in Acts, we read that the growing church devoted itself to the Apostle teaching which means that they devoted themselves to growing in Christ and maturity, and not just in the Temple courts but in their own homes, at other times. Bible study was never just a church thing for the early church and nor was it only a Sabbath activity.
We also know these small groups in Acts chapter 2 did ministry. “They gave to anyone as they had need.” These groups became an outlet for support, ministry, benevolence, charity and shared meals – as a group! Small groups need to have a heart that is as equally facing outward in ministry, as it is inward in fellowship.
One of the most amazing things about the church in Acts is the way it grew. People seemed to flock to their cause. Evangelising the lost was their mission and they embraced it! If we only go fishing one day a week – our weekend service – then that’s the only chance you’ve got to introduce people to Jesus. And then only if you can get them through the door. But if we meet throughout the week in groups that have filled their counters with fellowship, discipleship, ministry and worship – evangelism will start happening all over the place all through the week.
Breaking bread and prayer were as important to the first followers of Jesus as they had been to him. What this meant he remained as powerfully present in their everyday lives after his ascension as he had done before. It opened them up to new and fresh Spirit filled encounters with Jesus on a daily basis. “Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done.” We will encourage one another to make worship, in a variety of different ways, and equal part of our Life Group experience.