How does an individual, a couple, or a family connect in a large church? In what context are people able to identify their spiritual gifts and get involved? When you or your family has a material or spiritual need, how will you receive help and care? The answer to each of these questions is 2:42 Life Groups!
2:42 Life Groups are named after Acts 2:42. This verse describes the vital signs of the early church right after it was indwelt by the Spirit of God:
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
Ephesians 4:12 sketches a blueprint for the church, commanding us “to equip the saints for the work of ministry.” The ministry that the saints are to be equipped for is the ministry of love to one another. There are at least 20 “one another” passages sprinkled throughout the New Testament that give us our specific assignments in caring for one another. 2:42 Life Groups provides opportunities for believers to “love one other.” Our Lord’s Day worship service, and other lecture-formatted services, provides few opportunities for enjoying this kind of community.
The Apostle Paul admonishes, “and the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (II Timothy 2:2). Small-group ministry provides many opportunities for men and women leaders to be identified, trained, and employed. Hosting primarily lecture-formatted services limits leadership primarily to pastors. 2:42 Life Groups will employ nearly 100 leaders. Beyond that, during each semester, new leaders will be identified, trained, and employed in the upcoming semester.
The writer of Hebrews challenges us to “exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13). Large-group gatherings without individually connecting can mask spiritual hardening. The Book of Hebrews describes first a doubting that leads to drifting that ultimately leads to defection. 2:42 Life Groups will provide an intentional setting that will allow us to be “our brother's keeper.”
We are to “rejoice with those that rejoice and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). Further, we are to bear one another's burdens. How do we discover what to rejoice about, weep about, or bear? It is honestly challenging to do this simply by bumping into one another in the foyer or hoping to sit by another believer in a church pew. 2:42 Life Groups provides opportunity to personally hear joys, sorrows, and needs so that we can properly address them.
There are over 20 spiritual gifts mentioned in the five gift lists in the New Testament. Every believer is given at least one spiritual gift at salvation. Only providing lecture-format services allows for a very limited discovery and use of those Spirit-endowed gifts. Yet small groups like the 2:42 Life Groups will be intent on helping each member discover and use their spiritual gifts. Imagine 100% of our small group participants using their spiritual gifts! What an unleashing of grace!
2:42 Life Groups are small groups (10-20) of believers that meet for Bible Study, community, prayer, worship, and evangelism. 2:42 Life Groups are the primary way that we oversee and provide people care at Trinity Baptist Church. Keeping these five goals in front of our leadership will help keep the group accountable for intentional discipleship.
1. Bible Study: The disciples were committed to the “Apostles’ Doctrine.” The primary focus of each 2:42 Life Group will be the study of the Word. The primary focus will be application of the teaching that is given on the Lord’s Day. Most of the 2:42 Life Groups will conduct Bible studies that are sermon-based. Each lesson will have teacher notes, a student worksheet, and a suggested devotional study for the week. The curricula will be put together by the pastors as they are assigned by the lead pastor. There will also be certain studies that are offered each semester that are book/video studies. All of these will be approved by the pastor.
2. Community: The disciples were also committed to “fellowship” and the “breaking of bread.” They also had “all things common” and were meeting one another’s needs. 2:42 Life Groups will be focused upon providing an arena for believers to connect in Christian fellowship, sharing, and practice of the New Testament “one anothers.” Spiritual gifts will often be identified in the context of the small group.
3. Prayers: Acts 2:42 notes that another vital sign of the early church was their prayer meetings. 2:42 Life Groups will spend seasons of prayer time together. There will also be opportunity for sharing prayer requests and following up on needs that have been agreed upon in prayer.
4. Worship: The early church found that their commitment to Bible study, community, and prayer resulted in daily “praising the Lord.” The context of small groups will provide opportunities for worship and praise to the Lord through song and testimony.
5. Evangelism: Such commitment to the Gospel will cause believers to spread the message that “Jesus saves!” 2:42 Life Groups will be praying and seeking opportunities to use their small groups as an open door for evangelism.
You will notice in the 2:42 Life Group Leaflet, that there are a variety of groups, times, and topics that are available. There are groups for couples, parents, singles, moms, businessmen, college students, senior saints, etc.
The leadership of 2:42 Life Groups will be members of Trinity Baptist Church who are asked to serve in one of a few different roles:
• Group Leader: A Group Leader will facilitate the lesson and oversee the group. The Group Leader will receive training in leading a small group Bible Study, shepherding a group in discipleship, and communicating with pastors on the health of the group and/or individual members. The Group Leader will meet with a Shepherd at least once every two weeks for encouragement and addressing any needs.
• Group Host: The Group Host will often provide the home for the 2:42 Life Group meeting. In addition, the Group Host will be responsible for communicating to the group about time changes, postponements, prayer requests, etc. If the group provides child care, the Group Host will be responsible for organizing the care.
On the first Sunday of each “off” semester month (January, May, and September), a catalog of 2:42 Life Groups, called the 2:42 Life Group Leaflet, will be distributed for the upcoming three-month semester. The catalog will have all the different 2:42 Life Groups listed. The listing will include the time, leader, place, and topic for each 2:42 Life Group.
2:42 Life Groups can meet anytime during the week other than the morning of our Lord’s Day worship service. Some will meet on Sunday afternoons, Sunday evenings, Wednesday evening, and during many other weekday time slots.