What are Community Groups?
Community Groups are a place to be transformed by the gospel together. CrossPointe uses these small groups to help people connect in authentic Gospel community, grow spiritually and live out the “one another” commands of Scripture, thus displaying the Gospel.
These groups serve as the primary entry point for biblical community within CrossPointe, as group-members meet at various times throughout the week to talk about life and work through the Bible together.
Why Community Groups?
Broadly speaking, Community Groups serve five key purposes. These are:
1. Spiritual growth and sanctification
Although one’s personal responsibility for sanctification is paramount, sanctification cannot be accomplished in isolation from the local church. Community Groups provide an ideal context for sanctification to occur. Groups provide encouragement, correction and accountability that keep us from drifting away from God and away from one another.
2. The application of Scripture into the “nitty gritty” details of life
Merely hearing God’s Word preached is insufficient without life change (James 1:22–24). Reading the Bible and listening to faithful preaching doesn’t bear fruit unless it penetrates the heart, provoking obedience and producing definitive change. Community Groups provide a platform to apply God’s Word in such a way that it penetrates the heart.
3. The giving and receiving of care
One of the benefits of meeting in small groups is the mutual giving and receiving of care on an individual basis. A preacher on Sunday mornings cannot possibly know or apply a given message to the wide-ranging issues faced by those who hear him preach. In Community Groups, however, care is decentralized, being given and received on a specific, personal basis so that no one is overlooked or neglected (1 Cor 12:24–26).
4. True biblical fellowship
Community Groups serve as a platform where Christians can connect, developing close, personal relationships in a way that isn’t possible in a large Sunday morning gathering. In Community Groups, we communicate the joys and struggles in our relationship with God as well as encourage others to know and love God.
5. Experience and express the gifts of the Holy Spirit
God has given spiritual gifts to every Christian (1 Cor 12:1–7) and he desires that we use them. But it’s simply not feasible in a Sunday large group gathering for every member to use his or her gifts. In a smaller and more personal environment such as Community Groups, however, each one can experience and express how God has gifted them by Holy Spirit.
Why Not Traditional Sunday School?
The question sometimes comes up: Can’t all these things be accomplished through traditional Sunday School? Well, yes and no.
For the last few generations, Sunday school has effectively discipled and trained many Christians and is a discipleship model still useful in some contexts. However, there are several reasons why CrossPointe Church has chosen to use a small group model instead of traditional Sunday school. In particular, we believe that traditional Sunday school has a few negative tendencies:
1. It tends to cause us to look inward.
One of the benefits of meeting in small groups outside of the church is that it reminds us that the church is not a particular location but a particular people. Getting outside of the church building and meeting in homes promotes authenticity and reminds us that the gospel is for all of life, not just Sunday mornings.
2. It tends to segment by age.
Many Sunday schools are segmented by age so that there may be little interaction between, for example, young adults and senior adults. Unwittingly, this approach tends to promote disunity in the church, pitting age groups against one another. Meeting in small groups, however, encourages cross-generational discipleship (Titus 2:2–6; John 17:23) because it does not segment the church by age divisions.
3. It tends to use too much organizational energy and creates the need for a lot of facility space.
A traditional Sunday school requires a lot of organizational energy to set up and maintain classrooms, energy that could be better spent equipping members to use their homes to disciple others. Also, practically speaking, CrossPointe does not have the facility space for enough classrooms required to pull off a traditional Sunday school.
4. It can be an obstacle to evangelism.
Unbelievers and those unfamiliar with church culture are often hesitant to come to a church building because it is such a foreign environment to them. They feel overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of Christians around them and the strangeness of their surroundings. Meeting as small groups in homes is less confrontational and more real to the rhythms of life for most people. Small groups provide contexts to talk to unbelievers about Jesus in a natural way and in a familiar environment.