GRC’s Discipleship Focus
GRC exists to glorify God and make him known as we join God in bringing life-changing transformation to individuals, families, and communities wherever we live and serve. God has designed that to happen through discipleship, which is the very thing Jesus tasked his church to do in the “Great Commission” when he gave us the fundamental job to “go and make disciples” (Matt. 28:18-20).
Discipleship is not a program. It’s not limited to a particular ministry. It is an entire way of life for believers who are seeking to follow Jesus. Every Christian is a disciple of Jesus (that is, a follower of Christ), and we seek to “make disciples” as we invest in one another’s lives through our relationships and the various ministries of the church. Thus, all of our ministries are part of the Discipleship Pathway we have developed that intentionally meets people where they are and helps them take the next steps in their journey of becoming mature and equipped followers of Jesus. One of the most strategic ministries for making disciples on that pathway is our Life Groups.
Life Groups Are Central to Our Efforts to Make Disciples
Life Groups are groups of 4-5 people of the same gender led by a trained leader that focus on personal spiritual transformation, deep biblical community, living a missional lifestyle, and equipping disciples to do the same in the lives of others. It is a ministry that seeks to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples.
Life Groups are unique from other kinds of groups in that they are typically more:
- Intensive—weekly meetings with homework and expectations for activity outside of group time
- Intimate—a smaller number of same gender participants creates a context for more personal sharing
- Accountable—participants share how they are repenting, trusting in the gospel, and seeking to change
- Missional—while all ministries encourage missional living, LGs expect it as central their purpose
- Temporary—participants are invited to join a group for a limited time (1-3 years) and then move on to invest in others
- Reproductive—every participant is expected to multiply their lives in others in some way
The “engine” that drives these groups is not legalistic rule-keeping or personal performance, but continually reminding ourselves of God’s grace to us in Christ and applying the gospel to more and more areas of our hearts, so that “Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Cor. 5:14-15).
The Growth and Availability of Life Groups
We would love for everyone at GRC to find their way into a Life Group at some point. The key issue is raising up trained leaders for the groups. Our capacity is limited by our available leadership, but each year we are adding more leaders who have been part of a Life Group themselves, receive 18 hours of training over the summer before leading their first groups, and participate in our monthly leaders meeting for ongoing equipping.
In September we hope to start a few new women’s groups and possibly one new men’s group, and there also will be some open spots in existing groups. You can email Jessica Kern (firstname.lastname@example.org) while I am on sabbatical this summer to let us know if you are interested in a group.
Please pray for our Life Group leaders, and especially for those who are currently going through new leader training this summer. Pray that God raises up more and more equipped disciple-makers for our church, through Life Groups and every other ministry of GRC.
Steve Sage serves as the Pastor of Discipleship at GRC.