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Sunday Recap for April 23, 2017:
The Compassionate Shepherd

Mission Highlight: Community Groups at Christ Church
 
To Know and Be Known
 
Community Group (CG) participants are called to do an important part of the ongoing work of our church.
 
We encourage everyone to purposefully engage in this work of knowing and being known by others: learning one another’s life story and sharing what’s significant to us.
 
That’s why our small groups are called ‘Community Groups.’ Communities are where deeper, long-term relationships are built. They don’t happen overnight or without intentionality. They do provide the foundation on which we can speak the gospel into each other’s lives and remind one another of the acceptance, security, purpose, and worth that each one has in Jesus Christ.
 
How do CGs fit into the broader purpose of the church?
 
Purpose of Community Groups
 
In Christ, the church is called and preserved by God as a community elected for eternal life. Our heavenly father unites his people – his family – by faith, to love, follow, and worship him together. God sends this community to proclaim the gospel and represent Christ’s kingdom by the quality of their life together and their love for one another.
 
The quality of life we have – or give to others – depends on the quality of our relationships. Not only that, the spheres of the city we inhabit – including our family, neighborhood, school, workplace, and social spheres – all these are likewise impacted by the quality of the relationships we build and inhabit.  
 
At Christ Church, we believe that God uses relationships to transform us – to sanctify us – as we obey the great commandment to love God with all that we are, and our neighbor as ourselves. According to Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonian church, God chose us to be saved through sanctification by the work of the Spirit and our belief in the truth (2 Ths. 2:13).
 
Community Groups are the vital fulcrum of the church – the support on which the Holy Spirit moves like a powerful lever. They are an important setting in which people   experience (hear, see, feel and know) the love of God. They are a safe place where our members can remind one another of the gospel and help one another walk through life in faith, hope, and obedience to Christ. In other words, Community Groups are where people get cared for – whether in celebration of one part of their life story, or in prayer and support for a challenge, setback, or struggle they’re facing in another.
 
That’s why we want to be a church of Community Groups, not a church with Community Groups added on. Sunday services at Christ Church do the big work of reminding us of who God is, that we are loved by him and invited to join his mission. But between and beyond Sundays, it is a particular group of brothers and sisters who know you, your motivations and struggles, and who can speak in specific ways into your heart.
 
You need this from them, and they need this from you: to be exhorted, encouraged, shown mercy, cared and prayed for, and engaged in deeper ways. Community Group is the place where particular relationships grow to support this work. So if you want to be in a church to attend a service, you’ll come on Sundays. But if you want the church to be in your life, you’ll come to a Community Group.
 
Participation
 
Membership in a Community Group is never about whether someone is “in” or “out”. We want people who are trying out Christ Church, and need to take time, to do that in a way that’s comfortable for them. We want to respect whatever choice they make without any judgment. They can visit any Community Group that’s open without joining it.  
 
People may sometimes find that they get asked more than once whether they would like to visit a Community Group. We want to exercise sensitivity and apply good judgment. If people do get invited more than once, our hope is that they will see that not as insistence on our part, but as an emphasis, an acknowledgement that they are present in our midst, and as an offer of fellowship. We do not want anyone to ever feel ignored or left at the margins. We want to make it as easy as possible for anyone to join in.
 
How They Work
 
Our Community Groups are not built on a cookie-cutter model, and do not follow a common curriculum. Each group decides the content and activity it wants to pursue at a given time, according to what best suits the needs of its members and allows them to discover and express their gifts. They may follow along with the sermon series, or study specific issues (like marriage or finances), or particular sections of Scripture.
 
But their common DNA is made up of three main components: Care, Discipleship and Mission, corresponding to our vision to live as a community that’s being transformed in Christ, together, for the city.
 
Our meetings follow a two-semester rhythm: August to December, and January to May, so there are two major ‘on-ramps’ for people to join. But anyone can come in anytime into any group that’s open. We want to keep growing and multiplying our CGs and not be a top-down church, but a church of believers who are living out and acting on their faith to extend God’s kingdom, starting in their own homes and reaching further into the city.
Question #16: What is sin?
 
Answer: Sin is rejecting or ignoring God in the world he created, rebelling against him by living without reference to him, not being or doing what he requires in his law--resulting in our death and the disintegration of all creation.
This Week's Sermon: “The Compassionate Shepherd" (Mark 6:34)
 
“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
(Mark 6:34)
 
“God loves us more than a father, mother, friend, or any else could love, and even more than we are able to love ourselves.” (John Chrysostom)
 
“We have all things and abound; not because I have a good store of money in the bank, not because I have skill and wit with which to win my bread, but because the Lord is my shepherd.” (Charles Spurgeon)
 
Main Idea: The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.


Sermon Application Questions / Sermon Slides
This sermon series: The Jesus We Know

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