Just like the layout of many homes, at Gospelway, we view our groups as the 'front door' into the 'living area' of our church.
We currently have groups that meet weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, and even a few that meet seasonally.
There are many reasons why small group fellowship meetings have been an important part of the Christian life throughout the ages. William Boekestein helps explain why some of these.
Small groups provide opportunities for believers to learn from each other as they apply the good news of the gospel within relationships.
The groups that meet at Gospelway are led by elder qualified men and their families. The combination of a capable Bible teacher and eager learners, all exchanging ideas together, can be powerful.
A group helps to cultivate an environment of openness and trust, group members are encouraged to ask questions they might not ask elsewhere.
When we think about church accountability, we are right to think about elders (Titus 1:5–9). However, though groups that meet together, elders equip God’s people to work out their problems together.
If small groups can help believers assist each other, they can also help elders shepherd their flocks with greater familiarity and empathy. Small groups can help close the shepherding gap.
If we fervently believe in the power of the means of grace—that God works his grace through the official proclamation of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments—we should desire that the “uninformed” and “unbelievers” be present in corporate worship so that they too will worship God as they sense his presence (1 Cor. 14:22–27). But small group meetings can be an important stepping stone to church worship. We greatly encourage those that are part of our groups to invite friends to a small group who are unready to come to church.
When believers gather in homes for food and spiritual conversation, those present can witness hospitality blossoming from theory to practice.
Many churches have a number of guests or occasional visitors “orbiting” the church; they are considering landing but not sure if or how they can. Small groups can provide a way for those who are trying—or considering whether they would like to try—to break into the life of the church.
Fellowship is not a spiritually-neutral activity. As we catch up with friends and make new ones, we practice our calling to understand and love each other. As we share and listen to stories, we learn how others are attempting to intersect the common life and the sacred life.
Our groups never supplant the church. But they can provide a setting where the church begins to experience the kind of closeness that will characterize the life of the redeemed in the age to come.
All of our groups can also be found on the Church Center app.