Saturday, January 15, 2011


Last fall I read the book Total Church and commented quite a bit on this blog about it. Part of the thesis of that book is that following Jesus is best lived out in community, meaning not just "as part of a congregation" but as part of a smaller group of people who have access to each other's lives. The book's authors assert that all the functions of the church -- evangelism, fellowship, apologetics, worship, discipleship -- happen best in a context of authentic relationships.

I agree. When I look at how God has shaped me, or the contexts in which he has touched my heart most clearly, or the places I've seen him grasp people's lives and draw people to Jesus, it almost always happens in the context of authentic human relationships that provide meat and skin to the bones of Christian belief.

So this winter at Central we are putting a ton of energy into something called "Life Together Groups." These will be mid-sized groups (meaning somewhere in the range of 12-20 people) that meet together weekly during Lent (March and April this year) for worship, study, prayer, and fellowship. Currently we're recruiting leaders and hosts. These people will receive extensive training for their task, then later in February we'll have people sign up to participate in the various groups.

I'm excited for these groups to take shape! We have talked about some form of this for a few years, and various groups within the church have done some pioneering work, trying out different forms of life together. My hope is that not just a few, but hundreds of people will gain a new experience of what it means to be part of a Jesus-centered community this winter and spring.

I'm eager to see where these groups go from here. We'll certainly leave the door open for groups to continue, though we're only asking leaders and hosts to commit through Lent. But once people get a taste of this, I think they might be hooked.

No doubt you'll be reading more on this blog as we live our way into this adventure. If you live in the Elk River area and you want in on this, feel free to email me!

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