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by Rev. James Wong
A life group provides a structure for church growth and for members to love and care for one another in a practical manner. The followings are the benefits that I have found joining a life group.
1. A Life Group Helps Me To Find Power For Living. Mc Donald reminds me of hamburgers and KFC helps me to think of fried chicken. Invariably there will be a time of worship in a life group. The lyrics of the worship songs remind me of the grace and faithfulness of God. This gives me a proper perspective on life’s challenges. I can then rest assured that ‘There is no problem too big that God cannot solve it. There is no mountain too tall that He cannot move it. There is no storm too dark that God cannot calm it. There is no sorrow too deep that he cannot sooth it.’
2. A Life Group Helps Me To Develop Proper Life Values. Value is a belief system. It is influence by our past experience, childhood up bringing, culture and our own cultural traits. A boy who refuses to go to school unless he has a pair of Niki is a reflection of his value which affects his choices. Proverbs 10:2 says, “Ill-gotten gain has no lasting value, but right living can save our life” (NLT). The discussion in the life group based on the Sunday sermon is a powerful way for us to learn the truths to ensure right thinking and right living
3. A Life Group Helps Me To Discover My Talents In Serving Others. God has given everyone of us gifts or talents and we are to use them well to “serve one another” (1 Peter 4:10 NLT). The life group gives me the opportunity, not only just to receive like a consumer, but to contribute in serving others like Jesus did. Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20::28 NIV). It is very often in serving and giving that I discover the gifts that God has given me and thus, develop my potential.
4. A Life Group Helps Me To Build Meaningful Relationships. I cannot have conversation with 60 people but I can have meaningful conversation with 6 or 10 people in a small group. It gives me the opportunity to develop deep and meaningful friendship rather than superficial relationships with many people. Proverbs 27:10 says, “Do not forget your friends or your father’s friends ...” (NLT). This is the importance of friendship that the Bible teaches but good friendship can only develop among a small number of people.
Our understanding and attitude towards life group makes the key difference in our life and the lives of others. When you think of life group, think of the benefits as well.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. ~Acts 2:42-47
I) Why is the life group so important?
1) We belong to God’s family
2) We need encouragement to grow spiritually
II) The nature and character of a life group.
1) Teaching of God’s word
by Rev. James Wong
The concept of cell group or life group is not a modern invention of the church. During the first two centuries of the Christian era church buildings did not exist at all. So Christians met in the homes of members.
In writing to his friend Philemon, Paul said in his letter, “to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier and to the church that meets in your home.” He also said to the Roman Christians, “please give my greetings to the church that meets in their home” (Romans 16:5 NLT). To the Colossians Christians Paul requested, “Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house” (Colossians 4:15 NIV). So the early Christians met in the homes of believers and the churches were house churches.
When the church becomes more organized and structured and financially able, church buildings become necessary for corporate worship to hold a bigger congregation and to facilitate the smooth and effective development of church ministries. As the number of members of the church increases the relationship with each other becomes more and more superficial. Therefore the church must grow larger and smaller at the same time. It is necessary to structure the church with cell groups for the development of meaningful fellowship and effective outreach.
The two agendas of the cell group are as follows. Remember them.
1. Loving those who are within. This refers to loving those who are already Christians—those who have given their life to follow Jesus Christ. Jesus says, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35 NIV). The life group is an excellent setting for believers to love and care for one another. It is impossible to be a follower of Jesus Christ without consciously and intentionally loving another believer. The cell group is not there to entertain you but for you to love others.
2. Loving those who are outside. This refers to loving those who are non-Christians. God’s heart is always with those who do not know him. God has called us on a mission to share his love to those who are outside the church circle. This is how Jesus describe the joy of heaven when the lost sheep is found; “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” (Luke 15:7 NIV). The home setting provides a friendly environment for friends to drop by and have fellowship with us in a non threatening environment. But we need to be nice to people and invite them to our cell group.
1. To Find Power For Living
Worship time in the life group helps me to focus on God. The lyrics of the songs sung are mostly encouraging and promote faith over fear.
“The LORD is my strength, my shield from every danger. I trust in him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” ~Psalms 28:7 (NLT)
2. To Develop Proper Life Values
The discussion in the life group helps to shape my thinking and attitude so that my life is built on the foundation of God’s word.
“And so we shall all come together to that oneness in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God; we shall become mature people, reaching to the very height of Christ's full stature.” ~Ephesians 4:13 (TEV)
3. To Discover My Talents By Serving Others
The cell group gives me opportunity to serve others like Jesus did and in the process I discover the talents that God has given me.
“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” ~1 Peter 4:10 (NLT)
4. To Build Valuable Relationship
Good and meaningful friendship can develop in a life group setting. It is God’s purpose that I do not go through life alone but be part of God’s family.
“So then, you Gentiles are not foreigners or strangers any longer; you are now fellow citizens with God's people and members of the family of God.”
5. To Be A Messenger of the Good News
A life group provides a non-threatening environment for me to invite friends to participate. Friends normally will not reject an environment of love.
“But my life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus — the work of telling others the Good News about God's wonderful kindness and love.” ~Acts 20:24 (NLT)
By Pr. Timothy Lo
This year, our life group ministry started off with a combined potluck dinner on 10 February. Brothers and sisters from all the different life groups came together for a fellowship meal. We had a good time of worship and Rev James Wong shared a short message. After that, there was a planning session, whereby all the brothers and sisters gathered into their respective life groups to plan their life group meetings and activities. The mission of the life group ministry is to ensure that every member has a loving, caring family of friends to help him or her grow into a fully devoted follower of Christ. The following points sum up the purpose of life group.
1) A Life Group is a Discipleship Group.
It is a place for brothers and sisters to grow together to become fervent followers of Jesus Christ through the process of discipling, teaching and mentoring. There will be a discussion of the Sunday’s sermon whereby brothers and sisters can edify each other towards growth to be a passionate follower of our Lord Jesus.
2) A Life Group is a Care Group.
It is a place to care for one another through encouragement and practical expressions of love and kindness. In the setting of the life group, the members will show care and concern for one another and also to pray for one another. It is also a place to have fellowship together.
3) A Life Group is a Ministry Group.
It is a place to develop and use God’s given gifts and abilities to help and serve others. God gives spiritual gifts to all His children. The life group is a good venue for brothers and sisters to exercise and utilize these gifts to bless others.
4) A Life Group is an Outreach Group.
It is a place to bring friends, neighbours and relatives in order for them to experience the life that is in Jesus Christ. Brothers and sisters are encouraged to invite non believers to life group meeting. The home setting is non threatening and is suitable for us to invite non believers to join us in order for them to have exposure to Christianity.
We are reminded in the book of Acts regarding the first century Christians. “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. Let us all make efforts to join a life group this year.
Why should you join a life group?
1. A Life Group is a Discipleship Group
This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. ~John 15:8
2. A Life Group is a Care Group
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching. ~Hebrews 10:24-25
3. A Life Group is a Ministry Group
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. ~1 Peter 4:10
4. A Life Group is an Outreach Group
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. ~Matthew 28:19-20