THE GIFT OF SMALL GROUPS
One of the wonderful gifts of God is the church, the community of God’s people. God gives us each other to worship, grow and serve together. Ephesians 4:16 “…From Him the whole body is joined and held together by every supporting ligament , and grows and builds itself up in love as each part does its works.”
At APCH we have some good traditions that help us to get to know each other better. This happens casually each week - after worship over coffee and tea for example, or during the Tuesday craft group or cleaning up in the kitchen together or serving on a committee. It also happens during special events when we gather - like for the “Backto-School BBQ” or the Thanksgiving dinner. Here we get to know one another and welcome new friends into our life together. But APCH has also created many opportunities to meet in groups that encourage us to grow in our life of faith. From Sunday School to Youth Groups, in Bible Studies and “community groups,” we grow as we help each other grow.
Small groups matter and change our lives Groups matter because we feel the joy of belonging. Whether you are a senior at APCH, a newcomer, a child, or a choir APCH HERALD 4 member, we all feel valued if we are called by name, welcomed for who we are and included together in the community. This is a special gift and calling of God here at APCH because for so many of us this is our “home away from home.” Here, we experience what it means to be “brothers and sisters in Christ” together. In small groups we come to know God more richly through worship. We meditate on God’s Word, pray together, and help each other live the life of Christ each day. But groups also help us grow as God’s people. It is in smaller, regular gatherings that God grows in us in larger ways. Here we have the opportunity to become more loving, giving, forgiving, honest, and so much more. And here we build a more intimate and trusting relationship with ourselves and others. And small groups help us to serve. We help each other through bad (and good) times. We also learn of the needs of others beyond the group and may be able to serve them. And we give each other the opportunity to grow with their gifts and time through serving us when we ourselves need help for ourselves or others.
Join a small group and consider leading one If you aren’t already part of a group at APCH - a Youth Group, a Bible Study or Adult Education Group, a Community Group - we strongly encourage you to join one. This isn’t only for your sake in that you will grow as a Christian through such groups, it’s also for others whom you can love, encourage, and help grow in life and faith. But we also ask you to consider offering yourself as a servant leader of a small group. And you can grow with the small gifts you offer.
1 Peter 4:11 “Whoever serves let them do so as by the strength which God supplies” Five of the planned APCH “Community Groups” are now planted around this area. We intend to have groups all around the region growing together. This is an exciting initiative that will only grow in the years to come. Pray about whether God might be calling you to offer yourself as a possible leader of a Community Group or in some other opportunity. You can follow the progress and activities in the Community Group projects section of the bulletin each week. Please contact Anèl Smit or Pastor Mark if you are interested in the seminar and training session for becoming the leader in your area. And if you can’t be a leader at this time, evaluate what group you can be a part of to grow in the way of Christ with us.