Calvary Baptist Church is not a building or time. We’re a community of worshipers. In a way we’re always worshiping God as Christians, but we’ve set Sunday mornings aside as a special time when we come together to worship God as a church community. But to really have community together, the Sunday service isn’t enough. That’s why we have Community Groups. In Community Groups, we try to have biblical community together in a smaller setting of 5-19 people. If you can, we’d love you to join one!
When and where do Community Groups meet?
“Community Groups meet at various times throughout the week in homes across the Lehigh Valley. Please view our Adult Ministries Booklet at the link below to see current listings of Community Groups.”
What happens in Community Groups?
The simple answer is we try to have biblical community together. To explain that, we see five important ingredients to biblical community:
- Gospel-Driven: The group reminds each other of the truth of the Gospel and the new identity in Christ that Christians have. Struggles and change are seen through the lens of the Gospel. The group won’t try for mere outward conformity, but heart transformation, which comes through the Gospel. Even as the group reaches out to God, it is continually reminded that our spirituality is less about us reaching to God, and more about Him reaching down to us. So people can be appropriately honest about their sin, realizing as they confess it to the group the Gospel will be applied. There is also a desire to grow in Christ in the group, understanding that the Gospel is not only the message of salvation, but also the message of our personal transformation right now.
- Christian Fellowship and Care: The group can grow close through fun experiences, as well as more serious spiritual conversations. The fellowship includes social events, but doesn’t end there. The group pursues Christian love, where people feel pursued, and try to know others in the group. So the group may do things outside their regular meeting times, partly to build their friendships with each other. And if someone in the group goes through a crisis, the group comes alongside them, caring for them through the difficulty.
- Bible Oriented: The Bible is always considered the ultimate and final authority of each group. There is an earnest desire to know and submit to God’s Word. So even when another relevant Christian topic or book is discussed, the teachings of God’s Word are preeminent. The Bible doesn’t just shape the formal discussion, but every part of the group’s time together, such as the time of prayer.
- God-Centered Prayer: As people study and are open with each other, the group will together reach out to God in prayer. This will include praying for each other, as well as simply praising, thanking, and confessing to God.
- Sense of Mission: The group has a sense of God’s mission, which is making disciples throughout the world. The group does not exist to be passive spectators, but to be active servants on the mission to which God has called them. This means the group is oriented to reach out to others who are not a part of their group, and are both hospitable and loving to new friends. The group may do work projects in their community that help pave the path for Gospel work.
So back to the question: what does a group do together? If you joined a Friday evening group, here’s what you might experience in one hour. Hopefully, you’ll get to know a few people in the first ten minutes. As the group time begins, someone may give a reminder that the group will be having a barbecue in four weeks, and that it’d be a great opportunity to invite your unbelieving friends and family. After that, someone takes out a guitar, and the group sings together “In Christ Alone”. The leader then asks the group to get their Bibles out and the study guide they’ve been using through the book of Colossians. For 40 minutes, they talk about what Colossians 1:21-23 means, and how it applies to them. As they talk about the phrase “hope of the Gospel”, they begin to confess to each other what other things other than the Gospel they hope in. This moves the group to a time of prayer, as they continue to confess to God and pray for each other. The leader asks one couple for an update on someone the group was praying for, and then asks a widow how she’s holding up. They pray again for these specific people. The official group time is now done, and most of the group lingers around for a while, joking and chatting over cookies and coffee.
How do I join a Community Group?
To join a Community Group, you can either:
- Contact a leader yourself. The current groups can be found in the Adult Ministries booklet (link here).
- Fill-out a Community Group Interest Form and we’ll try to help you.
For more information on Community Groups, contact our Adult Discipleship Pastor, Brennen Sullivan (firstname.lastname@example.org)