Worship happens not just when we “gather” but also when we are “scattered.” In fact, the majority of our worship happens not on Sunday mornings, but the other hours throughout our week. Because of this, we place a strong emphasis on spiritual formation, the personal responsibility of each person to pursue God “with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength” (Deut. 6:5, Matt. 22:37.)
Our Spiritual Formation Groups are intentional communities that meet weekly with the purpose of providing opportunities for spiritual growth and maturity.
- House Churches – a small group that meets in a home for the purpose of spiritual formation through discussion, support, accountability and living life together. A spiritual family. These groups tend to be more inward-focused. (Proverbs 27:17; Acts 5:42.)
- Mission Groups – a group that has a specific outward focus. These groups function as the hands and feet of Jesus by serving others in our neighborhoods and communities. (Hebrews 6:10.)
- Spiritual Focus Groups – a group that has a focus on a specific aspect of spiritual formation (prayer, studying the Bible, discernment, etc.). These groups will be more focused on strengthening and maturing our relationship with God through spiritual disciplines. (Ephesians 4:11-13.)
- Hybrid Groups – a group that is a combination of a House Church, Mission Group or Spiritual Focus Group.
WINTER AND FALL SESSIONS
Spiritual Formation Groups start twice a year. Winter/spring groups begin in January and will run through the end of May. Fall groups begin in August and will run with the school year calendar - through the beginning of December or through May of the following year as predetermined by the leaders of the group. At the end of each session individuals in the group and the leaders of the group will take some intentional time (during the summer break or holiday break) to evaluate if they as individuals and/or as a group are interested in continuing into the next session or if it is the appropriate time for participation in the group to end.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We’ve always just done “house churches” in the past. Why the new format?
While the house church model has served us well over the years, we recognize that as a church we are in a place where a house church may not be the best fit for everyone in regards to communal, spiritual formation. It is our desire to provide a variety of opportunities for spiritual formation in the hopes of meeting people where they are in life.
Over the past several years we've often had folks wanting to start something new, or to join a group that doesn't fit the traditional "house church" model. We wanted to provide more freedom and empowerment within our congregation, while at the same time retaining the strengths of the house churches. Our new approach is aimed at helping folks step into their Kingdom calling and a healthier diversity of groups, gifts, and leadership in our church.
How are these new groups different from house churches?
House churches tend to be a more general approach to spiritual formation. Mission groups and Spiritual Focus groups have a more specific focus and vision. Of course all spiritual formation groups will have things in common, but we believe having clear expectations of what each group will provide will be helpful for those looking to join a group.
Why have sessions/intentional end dates?
We believe it’s important to not only plan how a group will start and how it will function once going, but also how a group can end well. While we encourage commitment and the building of relationships of individuals within our Spiritual Formation Groups, we also recognize that it is possible for a group, left unchecked, to continue past the point of healthiness for its individuals. In addition, groups having an established end date from the very beginning will allow individuals (including leaders) to know exactly what they are committing to when they join. Having clear expectations on commitment is often less intimidating to newcomers.
When my group’s established end is reached do we have to stop meeting?
No. The session’s end is merely an intentional time for both those in the group and the leaders of the group to stop and evaluate if they are interested in continuing for another session. If individuals are interested in continuing and the leaders (or new leaders) are as well, they can start up again in the next session (with a new established ending/evaluating period).
Can I be in more than one Spiritual Formation Group?
Yes. As long as you are willing and able to meet the expectations presented by the leaders, you can be in multiple Spiritual Formation Groups.
Can I leave the group I attend currently in order to join another?
You are always free to stop attending any group you are a part of. However, it is our desire that you leave your group in a healthy manner. If being unhappy or frustrated is your reason for wishing to leave your current group, you are highly encouraged to seek reconciliation with your group before leaving.
If you want to join a group that has already begun, you will need to first contact the leaders of the group in order to see if the group is accepting any new members. Once groups are established they have the option of remaining “open” to new members or being “closed”.
What steps do I take if I’m interested in joining or leading a group?
Contact Scott Rice at email@example.com.