Our Vision of Small Groups at FUMC
Small groups need to be the heart of our ministry here at Foothills United Methodist Church because they are the very means through which we are able to fulfill our vision: “Foothills is a community committed to worshiping God and sharing his love.” Our mission: “To promote spiritual growth and to provide multi-generational ministries in Christ’s name”. Small groups help us to build, live out and establish community as we relate to, care for, share with, and serve one another.
Here’s a brief definition of a small/cell group (courtesy of Joel Comiskey): “A small group is “a group of 4-15 people that meets weekly for the purpose of evangelism and discipleship with the goal of multiplication.”
Our aim is to see each person involved in a small group in order that they may be fully connected to God and to our church. In our small groups you will be encouraged to grow closer to God, experience the transforming power of God’s love and grace in Jesus Christ, and discover the empowerment of ministry through the movement of the Holy Spirit.
Our focus is upward (worship), inward (edification), outward (training and equipping), and forward (multiplication).
Another way to express it would be to say that the focus of our small groups is on experiencing the presence of God, building community, growing faithful disciples, and reaching out to a hurting world which results in the creations of new groups in the future.
We draw our inspiration and motivations for each of these areas of focus from Jesus’ words to us as his disciples found in the gospels.
Upward: “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your mind.” (Mt. 22:38)
Inward: “Love your neighbor as your self” (Mt. 22:39)
Outward: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” (Mt. 28:19)
Forward: “Teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you...” (Mt. 28:20)
Small groups may come in all sorts of flavors or activities such as Bible Study, Arts and Crafts, Sewing and Knitting etc. They may scratch an itch, like our need to want to grow as a faithful disciple of Jesus, use our talent to meet a need in our community or learn a new hobby. We may be drawn to this group by our desire to have fun, meet new people or gather with friends.
However, as Comiskey notes, the activity does not define the group because we are a gathered community of Jesus’ disciples, who are seeking to fulfill God’s vision and mission for us as the FUMC family. The focus of our life together as Upward, Inward, Outward, and Forward shapes the group and places the emphasis on the presence of Christ, not an activity. The activity is only an expression of the life the group has together.
This does not diminish the activity, but enhances everything that takes place because we recognize that God is present and we are seeking to honor and glorify God. The outcome is that love and grace abound and those present are built up, encouraged and challenged to draw closer to God and to one another.
Are you presently in a small group? Invite someone! Not in one? Why not try one! Would you like to start one! Talk with me!
Let’s be a church family that utilizes small groups to grow us and encourages others to grow with us.
Maybe you’ve longed for this kind of faith for some time, maybe just recently you have been prompted by thoughts or something that you’ve read in the Bible, or maybe it’s because of the situation or circumstance that you presently find yourself in that you desire to live your life with daring faith. Maybe, just maybe, in reading the title of this article, it’s the first time that you’ve ever thought about possessing a daring faith. It doesn’t really matter what has prompted you to think about living your life with daring faith, what is most important is that thinking about it is the first step toward understanding our need for it, learning how we might possess such a faith and being encouraged to take a few steps to live it out.
Why Using Flyswatters Won't Do
We are talking about deadly malaria bearing mosquitos in parts of Africa where fly-swatters don’t cut it. Give thanks that our own world-wide United Methodist is!!! We are successfully fighting and eliminating malaria in Africa! It is a wonderful story and we (our church) has been asked (invited!) to be a part of the story.