Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Community That is Christian

We are currently reading a book called Community That is Christian. It is by a professor from Fuller seminary and is about leading Christian small groups. It was a "recommended reading" for Jennifer in one of her classes at Asbury, and we are just now getting around to reading it, but have found it to be a very helpful read as we are in the process of starting a small group in our home.

Last week we had our first get-to-know you dinner at our house for the small group/Bible study that we are starting in our home. 10 people attended not including us or the children. It went well and we were very up front about the purpose of the group. The purpose is to form an authentic Christian community, one in which we are there for each other and we grow together as we study the Bible. (See Jennifer's notes on facebook for more details or e-mail us if you would like a copy of them). With the exception of 3 people all of those who came to the dinner are not attending a church and come from a catholic background. In our group it doesn't matter if you are catholic or not. All that matters is that you want to grow and know God better. There is one stipulation of our group. Each member has to take it seriously, meaning that no one misses unless they have to and that it is a commitment. Why? Because without commitment we will not grow as a group. We will not know each other well and we will be like every other small group. That is not our goal. Our goal is to be different!

Initially, we were super encouraged by the attendance and interest in the group. Lots of people asked us if they could come and expressed a desire to be a part of the group. We want so badly to do the right thing and make everyone feel welcome. While we were hoping for 15, 10 was a good turn out. Sadly, our neighbors approached us afterwards and said they didn't want to be a part of the group. This kind of hit us hard because we don't really understand why. One neighbor said she has had a bad experience with Christians (and she really has), and that made her weary, even though she knows we are different. Our other neighbor told us that she and her family just didn't want to make a commitment. This breaks our hearts because we think that if we do not sacrifice the time once a week to study and grow together, we will never really learn. Mmm....Please pray for our friends and us as we take this journey together. Still we are not sure if we will have 5, 10, or 12 to start with, but there is a hunger, an interest...The question is will the people respond or will they listen to the voices that are often stronger telling them that it is a waste of time, not worthwhile, or that Christians are weird. Aren't we all longing to be part of a community that is Christian? One where we can grow, be ourselves, be challenged, study, pray, and walk through life together?
Many people we've talked to here and in the States are. Are you part of one?

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