A New Belonging

At this past Sunday's Town Hall Meeting, I briefly presented our renewed Community Group vision that we hope to start in the Fall and made a call for help to make this vision a reality. I want to outline this vision here for those who couldn't make it but also to better explain the rationale and hope behind it.

Why are we doing this?

After over a year of Zoom gatherings, punctuated by major life changes (moving to a new neighborhood, changing jobs, welcoming new children, etc.), we needed re-imagine community building for our church. The isolation/independence we've practiced over the past year+ only reinforced the hyper-individualism already apparent in our city and culture. The question for us, as we grow together is this:

How can we [re-]learn and put into practice the truth that God calls us to be members of one another (Romans 12:5)?

The purpose of this new vision and structure is to help us embrace our communal identity in Christ -- that God has called us to a mutual belonging, where each of us is an essential conduit of grace for one another.

The structure:

Community groups will follow a monthly cycle where the various weeks will give each group an opportunity to grow together in different ways. Of the four weeks in every month, the first three weeks will be with members of your community group and the fourth week will draw from the entire church

Week 1 - Bible Study (what we've been doing...)

If you've been part of our community groups before, this should be standard fare. We are committed to hearing and learning from the Bible. It is God's gift to his people that we may know him and become who he has called us to be. Every month we gather to be challenged and encouraged by God's Word to us that we may better love him and love our neighbors in our daily lives.

Week 2 - Smaller Group (getting deeper into one another's lives)

Within your community group, you will be a part of a smaller group of 3-5 people. On this week, your smaller group will meet together to get to know one another at a deeper level. Oftentimes at the end of a typical "Bible Study" gathering, we try to squeeze in sharing about our week, asking for advice and perspectives, and praying for one another in the span of five minutes (or alternatively extending the duration of the meeting). We have this week set aside for growing in relationship beyond the small talk, to see how God is working in each of our lives.

Week 3 - Larger Group (more space for visitors and friends)

While some people may prefer to enter into community in smaller groups (see above), we set aside a week to welcome friends, neighbors, and co-workers to experience life together in larger groups. These gatherings are meant to be hospitable, making space for people to share interests and experiences. This week can take a number of forms to better welcome one another to our lives: dinners, games nights, bowling, social events, etc. If you've been with our community group ministry before, this is similar to our "fellowship weeks."

Week 4 - Affinity Group (this is new!)

The first three weeks (above) can happen in any order, but the fourth week is across our entire congregation; people are welcome to attend groups of varying interests. For example, on the fourth week of every month we can have a Young Adult Singles group, or a Families with Young Children group. We can periodically host a Men's or Women's Fellowship, a Book Club, a gathering based on careers (e.g. Faith and Finance/Education/Medical/etc. group). We can host regular praise & prayer gathers on this week. This final week gives us opportunities to connect with others in the church across our respective community groups and provides space for new communities to form. A church-wide schedule of events will be provided as this begins.

Great! How can I get in on this?

If you're a member of our church and interested in forming a group, let me know! (see contact form below) If you're kinda interested and find someone else who is kinda interested, you can let me know together. We would welcome more people who are willing to host or willing to be the point person for a group. It begins with a recognition that we need one another to mature in our faith and a willingness to be available for others.

Based on the current locations of our church members we're hoping to have...

  • 3-4 groups in Downtown Flushing
  • 1-2 groups in Forest Hills
  • 1-2 groups in Eastern Queens

If you have questions about what these groups could look like or have other ideas about getting involved (e.g. "I'd be interested in hosting a one-time affinity group!" or "I have an idea for ______________."), I'd welcome it!

It's my hope that we will better see and know one another, recognizing one another's gifts, and have opportunities to use these gifts to bless one another.

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