What are Grow Groups?
At Arbor Pointe Church, there
has long been a history of small group meetings. The church was founded
in the home of Joe McKechnie, discussing lessons found in Mayberry RFD.
The Church is at its best when it is a movement in community, living
out our calling in homes and businesses where smaller groups can have
more intimate discussion on living in our current society and culture as
a Christ-follower. I am a strong advocate for small group meetings - I
believe that it is in these groups that we can find the strongest
support for our life struggles, spiritual wrestlings and make
connections to help us in our journey to
the Cross. To that end, we are establishing as our
education/discipleship process, Grow Groups. I challenge you to get
involved in a group as we begin THE Journey but
even more so to find a group of Jesus followers that you can travel
together with. I will include a more lengthy explanation of Grow Groups
following our current schedule of groups so that you can see the intent
and process that they come from.
(Our Home-based Grow Groups are off for the summer)
Sunday Morning Grow Group - 9:15am in Conference Room (THE Journey)
Thursday Morning Grow Group - 10am in Conference Room (Study in New Testament)
We have the ability to add groups and hope we have to! We will have a meeting immediately after church to answer questions and sign folks up for groups. See you tomorrow!
About Grow Groups
Our philosophy is to help take Every Adult Deeper in developing their personal relationship with Jesus Christ – to Be You For Him! We see this as vital to a growing Christian life. It is for this reason that we have developed Grow Groups. Grow Groups are small groups of between 8-16 people and are crucial to our continuing growth as Christians in community. This fall, we are launching Grow Groups with a target number of 12 – if it was good enough for Jesus, then we figure it’s good enough for us. Grow Groups will meet in homes, at the church, and in other locations decided by the Group itself (could meet in coffeehouse for example).
Everyone is expected to become part of a group that is smaller than the crowd on Sunday morning to assist in growing our faith together as a body. It is here that we will experience the advantage of getting to know others in a more relational environment and becoming more involved in the ministry of the church.
In the development process, we have
borrowed from several different places – most significantly from North
Coast Church, Sugarloaf UMC and Northpoint Church. We chose not imitate
any of them because Arbor Pointe Church is NOT them, but good ideas are
good ideas and the following is one that we wanted to make sure was
available to you:
3 Vital Relationships*
We have identified three vital relationships that we believe each person should focus on if he or she desires to grow spiritually: a person's relationship with God, with other believers, and with unbelievers. Said differently, we define spiritual maturity as the pursuit of intimacy with God, community with insiders, and influence with outsiders.
Intimacy with God
The Bible records God's deep love and His passionate pursuit of all humankind. And because He desires an intimate relationship with every one of us, we believe the mark of a maturing follower is that he or she is continually pursuing an intimate relationship with Him.
After all, intimacy in any relationship doesn't just happen. It requires regular relational deposits. Imagine the state of a marriage where the husband and wife did not put any time or attention into their relationship. It might be characterized by a lot of things, but intimacy would not be one of them. Our relationship with God is no different. An intimate relationship with Him is not something we arrive at; it is something we continually pursue. And as we do, we enjoy the benefits and demonstrate the marks of a maturing follower.
Community with Insiders
Recognizing people's need for meaningful connections and the reality that sustained life change takes place best in the context of intentional relationships, we want people to be growing in community with other believers. We believe that a person who is continuing to mature in his faith is meaningfully and regularly connecting with other believers. Since the human propensity is to drift, we need one another for mutual encouragement and accountability. Consider the words of Hebrew 10:
"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." (Vs. 24-25)
Maturing believers are people who are growing in community with other believers, spending time together, encouraging one another, and supporting one another.
Influence with Outsiders
Because God has invited us to partner with Him in the process of evangelism, we want people to prioritize relationships with their unbelieving friends for the purpose of seeing these friends come to faith. We encourage people to invest in the lives of their unbelieving friends and then invite them at the appropriate time to church, events, and Grow Groups, where these guests will be encouraged in their spiritual journeys.
Many of our most spiritually vibrant attendees started out as disconnected, uninterested neighbors, coworkers, and friends. Then one day, a friend or neighbor invited them to visit one of our ministry environments and they experienced God in a fresh, relevant way. Nothing motivates believers (or small groups) more than when they see God using them to bring someone to Him. So we believe one of the marks of a maturing believer is the pursuit of those outside the faith.
To us, a spiritually maturing person is not someone who has completed a plan or curriculum. He is not someone who has simply acquired more truth. A maturing believer is someone who is continuing to grow in these three distinct relationships.
*Except for the first paragraph, this content was excerpted from Creating Community by Andy Stanley and Bill Willits © 2004 by North Point Ministries, Inc. Used by permission of Multnomah Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a Grow Group?
A: Grow Groups are small groups of 8-16 people who meet weekly for fellowship, Bible study, prayer, and accountability. They are for adults of all ages, stages of life, and spiritual maturity. A trained leader and host lead each group. An average meeting lasts for an hour and a half, with light refreshments before and/or after.
Q: How important are Grow Groups?
A: We believe that it is in the context of intentional relationships where significant life change takes place best. Grow Groups are a place where real life and real issues are discussed. This is the environment to celebrate the successes and good times of life and comfort one another in the tough and disappointing times. It is a place to be encouraged, equipped and challenged to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ. Grow Groups are crucial to our health.
Q: What is the Required Commitment?
A: Joining a Grow Group requires a 12 to 16 week commitment to attend weekly meetings and do the homework ahead of time. Obviously, allowances are made for sickness, vacation, work conflicts and other special events, but not much more. This commitment is the key to a strong Grow Group.
Q: What Does It Cost?
A: Few things in life are free and Grow Groups are no exception! The cost of Grow Groups is the cost of commitment. When you join a Grow Group, you're promising to attend and be prepared each week. It's this commitment that makes Grow Groups work. We realize it's a big commitment, but it only lasts for a semester at a time. At the end of each semester, you have the choice of recommitting for another semester, trying a new group, or taking a break from Grow Groups altogether.
Q: When do Grow Groups meet?
A: Each Grow Group decides when and where it wants to meet. Most groups meet weekly during each semester. As individuals seek to join a grow group, we help them find people that are meeting on a particular night and in a certain area of the city. Our Grow Groups meet in group members’ homes; at the church or a location the group chooses
Q: How long does a grow group last?
A: Each Grow Group session will last about 12-16 weeks. We have Fall & Spring sessions. At the end of each session, you will have the choice of staying in the same group, trying a new group or even taking a break. Most groups stay together throughout the entire year. Grow Groups usually will not meet mid-June through August, but this is at the discretion of the group. Each group determines the duration of time that they will meet.
Q: What is Arbor Pointe’s process for connecting people into grow groups?
A: The primary ways we connect people into grow groups is through our sign-ups on Sunday, online, and by contacting the Education Chair who will assist you in finding a group.
Q: How do groups choose curriculum?
A: The first source of tension for new groups can often be around curriculum. We have chosen to build our Grow Groups around a sermon based curriculum. We have seen over time that groups will follow a curriculum and then come apart when that curriculum has run its course. By having a core based on the sermon, we will always have a reliable, biblically-based source for our Grow Groups.
Oftentimes, leaders will choose to utilize a curriculum-based study for part of the year. We support and encourage diversity of study. John Wesley, the reluctant founder of Methodism, studied and grew from many different sources and this example is one that we should follow. Groups only need to keep leadership informed of what they are studying. It would be very rare that someone would not be allowed to conduct a study.
Beginning in the fall of 2017, we are launching THE Journey (an Arbor Pointe process explaining what it means to follow Jesus at APC). Most Grow Groups will be following THE Journey this season.
Q: How is childcare handled for Grow Groups?
A: Groups may handle childcare themselves, or choose to meet on Wednesdaynight to take advantage of the children’s programs offered by our youth ministry.
Q: How does Arbor Pointe train leaders?
A: Training opportunities are provided periodically during the year for Grow Group leaders.
Q: Who do leaders contact if a problem or question arises that they can’t answer?
A: Group leaders have a Grow Group Coordinator available to them who helps them walk through any challenges their group may experience. The current Grow Group Coordinators are:
Christy Ray – 706-658-2965 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Devine – 678-773-9121 or Michael.email@example.com