A Community Group is a small group of people encouraging one another to grow closer to Christ as they intentionally participate in His mission to make disciples. We have all different kinds of groups meeting in all different locations and at different times.
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The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul. Psalm 18:7
He restores my soul. He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Psalm 23:3
Dallas Willard, in his book “The Great Omission” says that spiritual formation is really soul reformation. Perhaps you are like me, and find that daily life tears the soul with its pace and the distractions that bombard each day. I crave a restored soul, a refreshed spirit, a body energized by God’s grace and love. I want to be reformed from the inside out.
Willard suggests that disciplines are the path to such a reformation. He says that “The aim of discipline in the spiritual life – and specifically in the following of Christ – is the transformation of the total state of the soul. It is the renewal of the whole person form the inside, involving differences in thoughts, feelings and character that may never be manifest in outward behavior at all. This is what Paul has in mind when he speaks of putting off the old man and putting on the new, “renewed to resemble in knowledge the One who created us…” Colossians 3:10 (The Great Omission, pg 150-151)
Willard points to three main disciplines to employ as a path toward restoration:
Solitude and silence
This summer, take advantage of some changes in your schedule – even if you are only taking advantage of the fact that there are more daylight hours - and take a step toward restoration found through solitude, fasting and memorization. Through them, let God revive your soul, your heart, so that you will experience his grace and love more fully, and serve him more faithfully.
As we make the transition to summer, your group may be bumping into scheduling challenges, and a desire to have no schedule once school gets out. This is ok! In fact a shift in your schedule, in the frequency of your meeting, in the content of your time together, may be just what the doctor ordered for the health of your group.
Shift into summer mode – have some relaxed time together, grill out at a park, take a trip to Ravinia together, hang out in the back yard. Invite your neighbors or other people in your life who you want to introduce to Jesus and introduce them to your community group members. This makes for a natural and relaxed atmosphere for sharing your faith…by sharing your “faithful” group members.
Make summer purposeful, but not stressful.
King’s Cross by Tim Keller
Broken Down House by Paul David Tripp
A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson
When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert