By Dustin Walker:
If you were to look two years into the future of your Community Group, what would you wish to see?
I suspect we would want to see the spiritual fruit of faithfully reading scripture and praying for one another. My guess is that you would want to see deeper friendships. And perhaps you would desire a vibrant faith that is expressed in generosity; generosity to serve, to share, and to speak openly about Jesus.
However, I believe the unspoken assumption many of us have is that we will hit these marks if we just do life together with the right people.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t work out as naturally and organically as we hope for two reasons:
- The reality of entropy
- A lack of purpose
Here’s what I mean:
The Reality of Entropy
Entropy is defined as a gradual decline into disorder. Unfortunately, the natural spiritual gravity of every individual is downward. Guided by the strength of our willpower we can hardly rise above our tendencies toward disorder in our thoughts, our words, and relationships. And when we get people together in a group, the entropy is multiplied exponentially. We are prone to passivity, impatience, hurt feelings, jealousy, insensitivity, and malice.
Our first admission must be that we are not the right people. I need Jesus. So do you. Other people aren’t the problem. The problem starts with me. My gradual decline begins when my heart slips away from being anchored in the gospel.
Abundance of Gospel
So how do we combat the forces of entropy in our groups? Good works? Accountability? Making a big commitment? It starts by remembering the gospel. This is done by reading it in the Bible, meditating on it with your mind and heart, and continually speaking and hearing it with others. And once we’re grounded in the gospel, then we can provide the structures and rhythms of good works, accountability, and commitments.
Lack of purpose
Another enemy of fruitful growth in community is a lack of purpose. Think of your group right now (whether or not you are leading the group). Does your group have a stated purpose or set of goals you’re all striving to reach? Zig Ziglar once said, “If you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” I believe that is true many times of our groups.
I wonder if the things we’re celebrating in our groups are the result of accidental success or prayerful intentionality. Only the Lord knows, but I hope it is the latter.
Merely stating a goal is not the point. We need to think, talk, and pray with one another to determine how we would like to see God move in and among us. Then we need to back that up with faithful words and deeds. Out of our understanding of the gospel, we should link our groups’ godly desires to a commitment and plan of action. This is so we can see spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Heb. 10:24).
There’s no one-size-fits-all way to do this. Each group has its own personality due to the unique gifts and stories from every individual in the group. But every group goes through seasons where the purpose needs to shift to meet needs in the group. Some groups need to be reminded of the importance of evangelism and hospitality. Some require the discipline of reading scripture. Others need to develop the capable leaders in their group and send them out to plant.
My prayer for this next season of Community Group life at City Church is that we will press forward with purpose. I ask that the Lord would bring purpose and urgency to the gospel task that he’s given each of us to fulfill on our groups. And may Christ be exalted as we faithfully depend upon the strength of the Spirit to supply more than we could ask or imagine.
What do you see as you peer two years into the future for your group? What are you asking for God to do? How will you resist entropy and purpose?