It is essential to lay a foundation for building a life-giving and life-sustaining community within your church. Illustrating the need for a solid foundation, Jesus said,
Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it. (Matt 7:24-27)
Jesus calls us to dig deep into his Word and lay a solid foundation of faithfulness. We are called to hear his words, be changed by them, and to live out of the convictions brought by the Holy Spirit. He is telling us to build our lives on the foundation of faith and obedience in him, through the living Word of Scripture.
What an excellent foundation! Yet there are so many who build their foundations on sand rather than rock. When it comes to ministry, and community group ministries in particular, I see sloppy foundations. We can get so excited about a new innovative idea or opportunity to contextualize that we often skip this important step: build your foundation on the rock. Wind, rain, and floods will come in the form of sin, suffering, and tragedy. The question is, will your community have the conviction to be the church when the flood comes, when Jake confesses to an addiction to porn, when Jane loses hope, when Tom loses his job?
Have you asked yourself why you do community groups?
It seems silly, but how many of us have never even asked why we have community groups at our churches? Having small groups at your church because of tradition or because that is what “successful” churches do is not a particularly sturdy foundation. It is like having no foundation at all and makes it fairly difficult to inspire a commitment to community.
So, before you begin building (or remodeling), let me encourage you with this: be like the wise man. Ask why before you ask how. Build your foundation before you pick out the drapes. We are so often in a hurry to fix the lack of authentic community within the church that we start building without a foundation. Jesus tells us not to be fools who put all our effort into building a house, picking out just the right hardwoods to accent the light in the family room, when it will all be washed away in the first storm. We want to build our community groups so that they will stand up to the many storms that will come blowing through.
This article is adapted from Community: Taking Your Small Group off Life Support, by Brad House.
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