What are Life Groups?
A Life Group is a smaller group of people
within our church who meet regularly to establish a sense of community
to live out the reality of the Christian life on a day-to-day basis.
The mission of Life Groups is to grow Christ-centered communities
through loving relationships.
The benefits of participating in a Life Group are far reaching. In the context of this smaller "spiritual family" you will be able to establish deeper relationships in a warm and safe environment. You will be accepted for who you are while at the same time encouraged to reach your full potential in God. This small group will be a care-giving community as well as a place to grow in areas of serving others. The Body will learn how to grow up into the fullness of Christ as we see the Lord at work in and through each other.
The Life Group is the primary relational cell for connection to the larger body here at East Swamp Church. East Swamp ministries, special classes, and various focus and interest groups are all meant to be a compliment to Life Groups and not a substitute. Given the size of our church, it is impossible for the full-time pastors to be available for all of the general needs of the church. Life Groups will be the main provisional structure for the multi-faceted needs of the body at large.
The Church is God's chosen vehicle for the
operation of His love and grace in the earth. The power and work of the
Holy Spirit through a dynamic church is how God gets things done - it's
how He builds His kingdom. Though the world does not see or know it
yet, the Church has what the world is looking for.
Scripture and church history have taught us that the most effective model for a dynamic church body, which consistently administers the love of God, comes in the form of small groups. This interpersonal relationship model was the basis for vibrant Christian life and growth in the New Testament Church.
The small group is the context that God has chosen to reveal Himself to the world in His multi-faceted beauty. The small group is how the body of Christ is "built up until we all reach the unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13)." If we are serious about making an impact in our community as a truly dynamic force of Gods love, power and grace, we have to take seriously the model of Church that the scripture presents.
How are Life Groups Structured?
The structure, frequency, and nature of what
takes place within the groups will vary depending upon the personality,
availability and gifts of the leaders. We need to respect and make room
for the various ways in which the Holy Spirit will work in each group.
With that understanding, in order to adequately provide for the needs
of most people, the groups will meet at least twice a month. Some
groups may choose to meet weekly. The common elements of a Life Group
will be: fellowship over food, worship, group discussion on a focused
passage of Scripture, personal sharing and prayer.
Although the purpose of the Life Group is to provide a context for developing relationships, encouraging people in their faith, and assisting in the meeting of needs, we must be careful not to allow the Life Groups to become "dependency" groups (or clicks) that are exclusivistic in nature. Our focus should always be inward and also outward, with future reproduction and growth as main objectives.
Who Should Participate?
As a church we strongly encourage people who
regularly attend East Swamp to join a Life Group. Church membership is
not a requirement for participation. With some groups, families are
encouraged to bring their children. If you would like to try out a
group, you are welcome to do so, and contacting the church office will
get you moving in the right direction.
There are over fifteen East Swamp Church Life Groups scattered around Upper Bucks and Lehigh Counties. Although it makes most sense to attend a Life Group in your geographic location, you are welcome to visit a group to see which one would be a good "fit" for you and/or your family.
Feel free to pick up a Life Group brochure at the Welcome Center on Sunday morning which provides additional information about this vital ministry.
LIFE Group Covenant
As a member of this LIFE Group I covenant with my brothers and sisters in Christ to do the following:
- To attend all the LIFE Group meetings unless there is an exceptional circumstance and in such a case to notify the group's leader.
- To pray each week for those who are in the group.
- To come with an attitude to minister to others and to be ministered to.
- To come to the meeting prepared, having studied and prayed.
- To keep in trust anything of a confidential nature shared during the meeting by another member.
- To treat with respect the other members of the group, recognizing that viewpoints and approaches to subjects may differ.