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What is a Gospel Community?
And how is it different to a Bible study group? The best description of a Gospel Community is found in Acts 2:41-47.
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved”
These new Christians in Acts devoted themselves
These were the building-blocks of their community, the fabric of what they did together. They were a joyful community. A truly phenomenal community. A community centred around loving God and loving each other. And they were a community that grew in number as outsiders saw them living this way.
Those are the kind of communities we want to create. Places where we can invite our non-Christian friends to come in and see the kind of relationships we have, see our devotion to each other and to our Lord. The vision for these groups is that many people are saved as they encounter real Christian community, and we all grow in love for each other and for our Saviour.
These four things will form the backbone of what we’ll be doing together as Gospel Communities. Exactly how we go about that will be up to each group. But each of the groups will be:
1. Devoted to God’s word
Gospel Communities offer a great opportunity to discuss and explore in greater depth what we’ve been looking at together on Sunday mornings. They’ll give us the chance to apply God’s word very specifically to our own lives and the lives of each other, to see how we might respond as a community to what God is saying, and to grow in our understanding of God and his purposes. As we do that, those who aren’t Christians will not only hear God’s word for themselves but see us joyfully living in submission to him.
2. Devoted to each other
The main way the Bible talks about church is as family. It’s a place where we can come and be accepted, where we know each other and are intimately involved in each other’s lives. That’s the kind of community we see in Acts. So spending time together, sharing our lives together and caring for each other will be a major part of what we do as Gospel Communities. But that’s not just through the formal meetings. The vision is that we’ll spend an increasing amount of time together throughout the week, looking out for each other’s needs, in and out of each other’s homes, and getting to know each others’ groups of friends. We will remain committed to the whole church as well, and our responsibilities in terms of fellowship will extend beyond our local Gospel Community.
3. Devoted to eating together
Eating together is a wonderful expression of what it means to be family, to be united with one another, and also the way that Jesus gave us of remembering his death for us on the cross. That’s why the early Christians were so committed to breaking bread in each others’ homes. Eating together will hopefully be an important aspect of what we do as Gospel Communities, whether through sharing a meal together each time we meet, only once in a while, or just through having some cake and coffee as we spend time with one another. As we do so, and invite our non-Christian friends to join in with us, we’ll be enjoying the unity that Jesus died to bring about between us, and extending the offer of community to those who don’t yet know Jesus.
4. Devoted to prayer
Christian community isn’t just about hearing from God and loving each other. It’s also about talking to our loving Heavenly Father in prayer, as Jesus taught his disciples to do. And that’s the last building-block of what we’ll be doing as Gospel Communities. We’ll spend time praising God together, thanking him for all he’s done for us on the cross and for who he is. And we’ll spend time praying for one another and for the growth of God’s kingdom, both in our lives, in our life as a community and beyond.
As to how exactly we do these things, it’s up to the different groups and their leaders to decide. But as we do these things, as we’re devoted to God’s word, to each other, to eating together and to prayer, and all in front of the non-Christians we’re inviting along, our vision is that we’ll grow in love for one another and for God, that our communities will grow into real communities of light, sharing our lives together and bringing many non-Christians into contact with real Christian community.
And our prayer is that through these Gospel Communities people will be saved and ultimately churches planted across Brisbane to bring the wonderful news about Jesus to those who need to hear it - and to see it in action.
We have a number of Gospel Communities to choose from based on your location and preferred time: you are invited to Register your interest »