Community is crucial for a healthy church. Without it, Christians become isolated members of a body, cut off from the lifeblood of Biblical encouragement and relationship that should connect us together. Yet community takes work, effort, scheduling, and sacrifice. Here is how we are working at community in Redemption Hill.
1. We view our church gatherings on Sunday as times to build community. So we greet each other and talk together before and after the singing and the sermon. These are relationship moments–chances to hear what God is doing in the lives of our brothers and sisters, so that we can share their joys, sorrows, weekly burdens, needs, and hopes. We want to walk together through life.
2. We meet in small groups about once a week. Here are the types of meetings we enjoy in a given month.
1) Family Night–this is gathering for all the families in a group, children included. We share a meal, talk and laugh together, and sometimes take time for prayer and a brief Biblical encouragement. This meeting is also a great opportunity for us to invite our neighbors, friends, and co-workers who are not Christians. Outreach is an individual responsibility but also a group project.
2) Men’s Meeting/Women’s Meeting–the men/women in our groups get together to discuss a theological book or some other Biblical content together and encourage each other in their walk with the Lord.
3) Fellowship Meeting–the adults (17+) in our groups get together to talk about a sermon or Biblical topic, pray together, worship together, and encourage each other.
3. We encourage individual Hospitality and Friendship–We view the above meetings as excellent opportunities to study the Word together and build relationships, but not as a replacement for one-on-one or family-with-family moments. We encourage members to see the “formal” meetings not as the final word on fellowship, but rather as a springboard into phone calls, emails, or meetings with others in the church or with non-Christians friends.
Because of the full schedules of most Christians, these meetings intend some functional overlap. For example, if a young couple is having trouble finding babysitters and can’t make the adult fellowship meeting, they can still attend the men/women’s meetings for deeper fellowship and the family meeting for relational connection in the church. If a family with a number of teenagers is in a busy season of sports and school homework, they can count on the Family Night as a meaningful relational connection with people in the church, even if they can’t fit in as many individual hospitality nights.
Of course we do not think this is the only structure that could serve community in our church. We’ll probably change it at some point in the future! Actually any schedule is only as useful as the faith and passion of the members of the church.
Our prayer is that the Lord will give us grace to love one another, to welcome those around us or new to us as God has welcomed us, and to build one another up as a Spiritual community worthy of our calling in the Lord Jesus.
*Members of our church live in Round Rock, Pflugerville, Austin, Georgetown, Cedar Park, and Manor. If you are interested in finding out more about our small group schedule or if you have any other questions about the church please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org