What is a Community Group?
Every week, the people of the Village Church Irvine meet in small groups throughout Orange County in what we call Community Groups. Belonging to a Community Group allows us to know one another deeply, show and receive love, and lift up Jesus together. Community Groups are encouraging, enlightening, and intentional. In battling for deep and abiding relationships within the body, we are seeking Jesus to be mighty in and through his people.
Why is Community so Important?
Life is about loving relationships—first with God, then with others. We crave relationships because we bear the image of God, who is relational at his very essence. The three persons of the triune God—Father, Son, and Spirit—exist in perfect community, each continually giving and receiving perfect love. C.S. Lewis once described this triune relationship as “a kind of dance.” Amazingly, God invites us to join him in this divine dance. We were created for deep relationships, and connecting with God and fellow believers satisfies our God-given desire for community.
Christian community leads to mutual encouragement and sanctification. Life is hard. Making meaningful progress in your walk with Jesus takes effort. You will be glad to know that when life gets difficult, there will be brothers and sisters who will hear you out, cry with you, love on you, pray for you, and worship Jesus with you. When you are going through a dry season, there will be those who have been through dry seasons themselves and will suffer alongside you until God speaks tenderly to you again. Close community also sanctifies and sharpens the body so that we are continually transformed into the image of Christ. And of course, we will celebrate the joys and victories together as well.
Living in community allows us to serve one another. In one well-known passage, Jesus washes his disciples’ feet and says to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so am I. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” Jesus commands us to serve one another, and being in community gives us opportunities to love, counsel, encourage, and minister like Jesus did.
Christian community communicates Jesus to the world. In John 13:34-35, Jesus commands his disciples to “love one another: just as I have loved you…By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” The kind of selfless love Jesus is talking about is so radical, the world will know that we are followers of Jesus just by looking at how we love one another. By emulating the love of Christ within the Christian community, we can present a powerful testimony to those who have yet to encounter the King.
Why Join a Community Group When I’m Already Attending Sunday Services?
We believe that Christ-centered community is best achieved by meeting both corporately on Sundays and in smaller groups throughout the week. This allows the whole church to be unified under the same vision and teaching, while still participating in intimate community. Smaller group settings provide more opportunities to practice hospitality, share burdens, confess sin, and speak wisdom to one another. It is also more conducive to frank discussion, particularly on how we can apply Sunday’s teaching to our lives. In addition, scattering throughout Orange County into our own neighborhoods means we can bring the gospel to more people who need Jesus.
I Am New Here. Can I Join a Community Group?
In one sense, Community Groups are smaller versions of our corporate Sunday gatherings. This means people of different backgrounds, age groups, and stages of spiritual maturity gather to pursue Jesus together. But because Community Groups meet in much smaller numbers, you will get the chance to engage others much more deeply. If you are a skeptic or a new believer, this would be the perfect place to ask questions and wrestle with your faith with people who care about you. For mature believers, belonging to a Community Group will give you the chance to grow further as we encourage, challenge, and serve one another.
What Can I Expect When I Go?
You can expect a casual but purposeful gathering that involves food, conversations, prayer, and a practical discussion about the Bible. The discussion is usually tied to the Sunday message at church. Be prepared to meet people who genuinely care about you. There will be honest discussions, fervent prayers, real pain and real joy. More than anything else, you will experience the body being the body. There may also be opportunities to serve the neighborhood and have fun together at BBQs and game nights.
For more information about community groups: firstname.lastname@example.org