In my last post I outlined some reasons why we value community groups. Whenever you lead a group, one of the key questions is that of content. What we should we talk about? What should we study and learn? At TAC, every week I write application-driven discussion questions based on Sunday’s text and sermon. Each week our groups discuss these questions in their groups. Here’s my top reasons why we connect our groups with our Sunday Message:
1. We don’t need more teaching, we need more transformation.
There is an incredible amount of teaching available to the average North American Christian. Besides the Sunday message, many churches have adult Sunday School, Bible Studies, conferences and seminars. On top of that is preaching on Christian radio and over podcasts. But teaching isn’t enough. We seem to have information overload, and yet see little transformation. It’s not I don’t value teaching, but I want to maximize my teaching and see that information lead to transformation. So in our Community Groups, our focus is not on learning something new, but taking what we learned on Sunday and discussing it and applying it to our lives for the sake of growth and transformation. It’s better to learn 1 thing and alive it out, than to learn 2 things we don’t apply.
2. Preaching isn’t just for instruction, but for leading the vision and mission of the church.
The goal of preaching needs to be larger than teaching. It’s from the pulpit that we cast vision and lead the mission of the church. We connect the scriptures to our vision and our life together. It’s important to keep the vision before our whole church and continue to unpack the mission in community. As Community Groups discuss Sunday’s text and message, they are working out the vision of the church. This is an effective way of creating theological and missional trickle-down.
3. Maintaining Unity
If every group is studying their own thing, from a different theological perspective, there is bound to develop theological cliques and enclaves. You’ve got the prophecy crew focusing on their thing, the hard-care doctrine folks doing a theology study, and the emergent kids reading Blue Like Jazz for the 17th time. By having every group focusing in on Sunday’s text, we can avoid groups drifting apart from the vision of the rest of the church and focusing on their strengths while missing their blind spots. Connecting the pulpit and the groups keeps us unified.
4. Leaders Can Focus on Shepherding Instead of Teaching
Not everyone has the gift of teaching. Instead of expecting every leader to be an effective teacher who has time to study hard to teach the group, the teaching instead is done on Sunday. Community Group leaders aren’t focusing on studying and teaching, but instead on leading and shepherding. The gifted teachers teach the Bible to the whole church, while the community groups are lead by Shepherds who can focus on leading through relationships.