Sunday Outline – September 24, 2023
This past Sunday, Pastor George shared on “The Importance of Groups.”
Following last Sunday’s service, we had Groups Fair on the front lawn.
Pastor George shared how blessed he was to see a large portion of the congregation involved in the Groups Fair – carefully planned, assisting, and connecting. Many walked from table to table to see and carefully choose which Groups to join.
These groups are so important to the life of the church, as they give people the opportunity to connect with each other as a family. We have various Group types:
- Discipleship Groups
- Prayer Groups
- Men's Ministry Groups
- Ladies Ministry Groups
- Outreach Groups
- Fellowship Groups
- Online Groups
- Ministry of Helps (MOH) Serving Groups
Groups are a keyway to fulfill our Mission Statement.
In 1991, the Lord gave Pastor George this mission. He originally thought it was for a specific small group. Then on January 3, 1993 when he and Pastor Terri stepped into the position as Pastors of EMIC, he realized this was a much larger mission; which would connect people to one another.
“Take a group of people and disciple them intensely in the Word of God. Teach them an uncommon faith. Help them stand victoriously in life.”
Psalm 68:6; (NKJV)
“God sets the solitary in families.”
(NIV) God sets the lonely in families.
(AMPC) God places the solitary in families and gives the desolate a home in which to dwell.
For many, the church can be more like a family than natural families, you feel at home, you are comfortable, and connected.
Reference: Galatians 6:10 we are the household of faith, so we are a family.
Major Levels (stages) of the Christian Life
- Accepting Jesus as Lord- Personal Relationship
- Attending Church – Pastoral Relationship
- Connecting with Groups- Individual Relationships and Spiritual Development – you are connecting and adding your supply to others.
- You develop, mature, and step up as a leader to lead others.
Acts 8:9-13; (NKJV)
“But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, 10 to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.” 11 And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. 13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.”
Simon became part of Philips group. He continued with Philip as he wasn’t ready to be on his own. He allowed himself to be discipled, to connect with others, and to bring adjustments into his life.
We could call it the “BBC” – Believe, baptize, and continue.
Continue (in the Greek)
- To adhere to someone.
- To pay close attention to whatever they say or do.
- To walk by their side.
God set a lonely man in the family of God- you can’t do it alone.
V.13 (MSG) “Even Simon himself believed and was baptized. From that moment he was like Philip's shadow, so fascinated with all the God-signs and miracles that he wouldn't leave Philip's side.”
Pastors Personal Journey
- I accepted Jesus as savior and Lord in July of 1972.
- I began attending a church several weeks later.
- A friend came to my house, picked me up and took me to church!
- I joined a mid-week Bible study group – for young adults and high school.
The room had around 15 graduates from my high school.
They rejected me in High School – but now accepted me in church.
That convinced me that Jesus was real.
Church Growth Survey – Why Did You Come to Church?
- 1-2% Came because of a special need.
- 1-2% Came because of visitation.
- 2-3% Came because of a church program.
- 2-3% Came as a walk-in.
- 4-5% Came because of Sunday school.
- 5-6% Came because of the Pastor.
- 75-90% Came because a friend or relative took them – Pastor George shared he joined a group because someone invited him, they then came to his house and brought him, connecting him.
John 13:34-35; (NKVJ)
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, fi you have love for one another.”
I developed new friendships centered around Jesus in that group. The church became my life from age 19 until I left for Oral Roberts University. He began teaching a Sunday school class to 5th graders and looked forward to it. As he looks back, he shared he sees how God was preparing him for what he is now doing.
The Discipleship Process
- I looked forward to attending that Bible Study every week.
- My understanding of the Word deepened.
- I began serving in the church through various capacities.
- I was given the opportunity to preach at several Sunday services.
- I realized how much I needed my church.
- Fellowship around God's Word became vital to my spiritual growth
- I also needed, “The Accountability Factor” of a group.
The Group Accountability Factor
1 Timothy 4:1; (NKJV)
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith.”
(AMPC) …They will turn away.
After a few months, somebody asked “Hey, I haven't seen so-in-so in church in a while. I wonder what happened to them?”
As Pastor, there is no way I can keep up with everyone who leaves. However, there is a Group Accountability Factor. You are your brother and sister’s keeper!
It should only take one absence of a group member – and someone is on their doorstep that night. “Hey, I noticed you weren't at our group tonight.” “What is going on?” “Is there any way we can help you?”
Luke 15:4-6; (NKJV)
“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, fi he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays ti on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!”
We look for each other in the Group, and if we don’t see them, we find them.
1 Corinthians 12:26; (MSG)
“If one-part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one-part flourishes, every other part enters the exuberance.”
A Discipleship / Ministry Group in Action
Pastors George & Terri celebrated Aubrey's birthday by having breakfast at a restaurant. I dropped off Pastor Terri and Aubrey and parked the car.
I noticed two older men talking to a younger man.
They all had Bibles!
We finished breakfast and were getting ready to leave.
I walked outside and they were still there talking.
My perception of the situation.
- The young man was a new believer.
- The other men were discipling him.
- They likely met for breakfast and were standing outside.
- They talked throughout our entire breakfast time.
- The young man was being discipled in a very small group.
- God set this solitary man in the household of faith.
What Groups has called you to be a part of?
To find opportunities to connect with others within a Group, please click here.
If you believe you are called to lead a Group, please click here.