I long to be a part of a church that is far more than a gathering of people for an hour a week. I want us as 217church to be a Gospel Centered Community, rebuilding lives one person at a time. This is my passion and is what I will give the rest of my life working for. When I felt the calling to be a missionary for Jesus (This simply means to go anywhere he calls me to go and tell of his GOSPEL) I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself. I discovered in a very short time, the church grows when relationships flourish.
Here is our simple vision: Reach 10,000 people, START 1,000 SMALL GROUPS, plant 100 churches, in the next 10 years, 1 person at a time. Jesus modeled life in a small group. He ministered to the masses and equipped the disciples as a small group and one to one. So who is in your 12?
“And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority” Matthew 10:1
I believe essentially our church is called to MULTIPLY three core things. Multiplication is implied in the Gospel If we can MULTIPLY these three things, we will be unstoppable! These are the three environments we are committed to as a church and how we are structured in our culture to grow. Unfortunately, many of us miss out on one or two of the below aspects of the church.
- One On One Discipleship (1-1)- This relationship sharpens and admonishes us to “…present each other perfect in Christ” (Colossians 1:28-29)
- Small Group Gospel Centered Community (8-14)- The small group invites anyone to give feet to vision of the Gospel in every day life. This is where we discover the nuts and bolts of how to implement Christ following. 217church has over 20 groups in 10 different townships. (For a list of groups, CLICK HERE)
- BIG Celebrations. (50-500+) – The weekend celebration gives us a taste of heaven as we hear the Word preached and worship collectively. We are multiplying and starting a 2nd new worship campus in East Windsor on October 13.
6 Reasons You Need Gospel Centered Community (A Small Group)
1. Authority –
This is simple. When Jesus sent out the disciples he sent them out two by two, but they weren’t supposed to stay as just two. They were supposed to grow and make disciples. This is a great strategy for starting a small group. NEVER try and start a small group alone. Ask God for someone to help you remember the authority by which you were sent and do it together. It isn’t by your authority but the authority of JESUS! Here is how you are to be sent together: “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.” (Luke 10:19) BAM! REMEMBER THAT ONE!
2. Belonging –
The enemies biggest deceptive strategy is to isolate you. When he isolates you, you become weak. You start to doubt, get discouraged and deny His identity and promises over your life. I have found when I am alone with my own thoughts and have no one, I become weaker. We need each other to Serve, Learn, Invite, Care for, Eat, and share the Gospel centered life. Every time we meet together is a reminder of our new life in Jesus. We share each others hurts, pain, and celebrations! There are over 50, yes FIFTY, “one another’s” in scripture. Here is just one: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)
3. Realty Check –
This is the freebie that simply comes from years of experience. Every once in a while, you need someone who knows you well to come alongside you and set you straight! You get an idea, get tempted to make a DUMB decision, and let’s face it, we all blow it! You need a small group to tell you like it is! Many people run from Gospel centered community because they are selfish, prideful and don’t want to be told they are doing something wrong. They don’t want to be held accountable. Life is FULL of conflicts and mistakes. You need someone to point out your blind spots. How can we do this? Start here: “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1)
4. Encouragement –
There is nothing quite like seeing and encouraging those on you are walking through life with. Death, birth, sickness, pain, joy, a new job, given enough time, something is about to change. Jesus has given us each other to deal with all these aspects of life. I have grown very close to a few individuals who I would do literally ANYTHING for! They help me realize and remember my needs are small and it’s NOT about ME! What we do with the needs and feelings of others reveals our character. Our role is to BE THERE! BE PRESENT! ENCOURAGE! “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
5. Maturity –
If you actually think you will grow faster on your own than in biblical community, you will have a harder road ahead. Part of spiritual maturity is learning how to yield to each other, how to give and sacrifice when someone is in need and how to put others needs before your own! Jesus modeled this as he “came not to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)
6. Multiplication –
This is where we are SENT each as missionaries to share the good news of Jesus with those in our lives. Our church is only 4 years old and we have already multiplied several small groups. To fully experience the Gospel, we want you to experience a multiplication of groups of groups! What is God’s plan for your friend or neighbor to see the Gospel centered life in action? YOU! That is right, you as a small group. Imagine how your neighborhood would change if the people in your neighborhood saw you meeting and serving together? Your friends can be transformed. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
You have to trust me on this one, being a part of a small group of people committed to live a Gospel Centered life is not a weird thing! It is what we are called to do. This weekend you will have an opportunity to join a small group, we call them 217groups. Our leaders can’t wait to meet you and accept you as family. Click HERE to find out more of what 217groups are about. Or, just contact Justin@217church.com.
217church is a church in Mercer County NJ with small groups for families in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets in the Hamilton AMC24 Theater and a soon-to-be announced church in East Windsor, NJ. Our new East Windsor Campus will meet at Grace Rogers School beginning October 13. If you are looking for a church in Mercer County, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA, don’t miss our weekend services at 9:30 or 11 am! Visit www.217church.com.