Ephesians 4:12 sketches a blueprint for the church commanding us to "equip the saints for the work of the 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 assingments in caring for one another. 2:42LifeGroups provide opportunities for believers to "love one another". Our Lord's Day worship service and other lecture-formatted services provide few opportunities for enjoying this kind of community.
The Apostle Paul admonishes, "and the things you have heard in me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable peopel who will also be qualified to teach others" (2 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 to pastors. 2:42LifeGroups will employ nearly 100 leaders. Beyond that, during each semester, new leaders will be identified, trained, and emplyed in the upcoming semester.
The writer of Hebrews challenges us to "exhort one another every day, as logn as it is called 'today,' that none of you may be harded 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 drifitng that ultimately leads to defection. 2:42LifeGroups 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." 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. 2:42LifeGroups 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 bleiver is given at least one spiritual gift at slavation. Only providing lecture-format services allows for a very limited discovery and use of those Spirit-endowed gifts. Yet small groups like the 2:42LifeGroups will be intent on helping each member discover and use their spiritual gifts. Imagine 100% of our small group participants using their spirtual gifts! What an unleashing of grace!
"Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes" (John 15:2). Pruning is a necessary process of growth. We prune 1) healthy buds or branches that are not the best ones, 2) sick branches that are not goign to get wel, and 3) dead branches that are taking up space needed for the healthy ones to thrive. Pruning is never easy, but it's necessary. Less is moren when we prune so that a branch can be more bountiful.
2:42LifeGroups are small groups (10-20) of believers that meet for Bible study, community, prayer, worship, and evangelism. 2:42LifeGroups 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.
Acts 2:24 gives us a little glimpse into the early church following the indwelling of the Spirit of God. They were "committed to apostles' doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayers." This is a snapshot of the church in its normal state. The vital signs of growing together in the Gospel were evident as they met corporately in the temple/synagogue but also "house to house".
Our mission from the risen Lord is to make disciples. We want to be a disciple-making church not just a Bible-knowledge church. Small group discipleship will provide:
Only providing lecture format meetings (Sunday Classes, Sunday AM, Sunday PM, Wednesday PM) provide very few opportunities for the type of Biblical community we see in the New Testament.
2:42LifeGroups will meet for approximately 90 minutes each week. One month prior to each of the three trimesters of 2:42LifeGroups, there will be a month long opportunity for joining the 2:42LifeGroup of your choice. During that month of sign-ups, there will be a catalog distributed briefly describing the various 2:42LifeGroups that are available, the times they are meeting, and the particular Biblical focus of that group. Here are a few of the 'flavors' of 2:42LifeGroups that will be available.
The 2:42LifeGroups leaders will be listed in the 2:42LifeGroups Leaflet along with their contact information. The leader will be responsible for facilitating and coordinating the Bible study. The Group Leader will be trained by pastor regarding the 2:42LifeGroup. There will also be a Group Host. The Group Host will be in charge of communicating with the group about the ins-and-outs of the 2:42LifeGroup. The Group host will communicate weather related postponements, assignments, food provision, and oversee attendance.
2:42LifeGroups will be available for three trimesters: (1) February to April, (2) June to August, and (3) October to December. The months of January, May, and September will be opportunities for joining the upcoming semester's 2:42LifeGroups. During the three "off" months, our church family will come together on sundays for testimony, praise and reflection of what the Lord is doing in all the various 2:42LifeGroups.
2:42LifeGroups are encouraged for every member and regular attendee of TBC that have finished participating in our youth ministries. There will be some 2:42LifeGroups that offer childcare for infants to 5th grade; there will be some groups that will offer opportunities for teens as well. These 2:42LifeGroups will also offer something for 6th-9th grade students who choose to attend the 2:42LifeGroups with their parent(s).
2:42LifeGroups are actually not that small. Many 2:42LifeGroups will have 15-20 participants, depending on the type and focus of the group. So, there will be enough participants that no one should feel like their personal space is being invaded!
There will be a 2:42LifeGroups that are meeting on Sunday evenings throughout Merrimack County. For those whe enjoy the Sunday evening Bible study format, there will be a regular meeting in the Auditorium each Sunday evening that includes some singing, prayer, and Bible study called, Sunday Evening Bible Study. The first semester (February-April), Pastor Fuller will be leadng a study though the Book of Hebrews.
The need for growing together in the Gospel at Trinity is second only to our collective worship service on Lord's Day mornings at 10am. Therefore, we encourage you to be present for Sunday morning worship (Hebrews 10:25). Make that your ultimate church-life priority. But, second to that, we want to encourage you to look at the 2:42LifeGroups as your next priority, even over the other meetings that the church hosts!
2:42LifeGroups will be easy to sign-up for. The first Sunday of January, May, and September there will be a 2:42LifeGroups Leaflet available with a connection card for you to sign-up immediately. Or, you will be able to register on our website. In addition, there will be a kiosk in the Foyer for the entirety of each of those three months.
The importance of growing together in the Gospel is so vital, that other meetings will be adjusted to give the 2:42LifeGroups the optimal opportunity to flourish. Choir rehearsal and prayer hour will be moved to Sunday mornings. And our Sunday evening service will be offered for those who enjoy that format as a 2:42LifeGroup called, Sunday Evening Bible Study.