Lots of churches know that while gathering on a Sunday is a very important part of growing followers of Jesus, on its own it’s not enough to build deep spiritual communities or for us to work together as God intends in gospel mission. Our response to this at Southern Cross is to organise the big church (SCPC) into smaller groups which we call Gospel Communities.
The goal of our Gospel Communities is to engage together in everyday life with gospel intentionality. We want to see the gospel growing to be more real and more relevant to our thoughts, attitudes and actions so that we’re being transformed to be a fit body for Christ our Head, a beautiful bride for our Husband, the Lord Jesus when he returns. Gospel Communities aren’t based around a program or around meetings but around relationships. They’re about making the most of the good, natural and necessary rhythms of life and in those rhythms looking to grow together AS followers of Jesus, and to reach out together to our friends in order to grow MORE followers of Jesus.
While each Gospel Community will develop its own unique patterns, here’s just one of the countless examples of how a Gospel Community might aim to live everyday life with gospel intentionality:
To build community, a few members of a Gospel Community go riding together 2 or 3 mornings a week. They’ve deliberately chosen an activity that allows for conversation and they aim to apply the gospel to everyday life in the course of these conversations. To bring community and mission together they look to invite their friends to join them on the ride and consequently in conversations where the gospel is shown to be real and relevant.
A few things to note in this example:
- Neither community or mission will grow unless we are explicitly intentional about what we’re aiming for and how we’re aiming to achieve it. Getting some exercise and hanging out with friends are just happy by-products of the main goal – growing followers of Jesus.
- Also note that building community and being on mission aren’t separate activities but can be achieved together. Most of us struggle to know how to bring the gospel into conversation with our non-Christian friends without it feeling forced. But when the gospel is part of our shared identity it’s easy to make it a natural part of our conversations with each other and then to include our friends in those conversations.
- And finally, note that while this example only involves a few members of the GC directly, it’s still a bona fide activity of the GC. This reflects the relational and organic emphases of GC life – sometimes we’re all together, sometimes it’ll just be the girls or the boys, other times just a handful at a time. In fact, in this example even though only a few guys are on their bikes, there’s more to the story than meets the eye. Their wives are at home looking after kids and getting the day underway, bikes and other riding gear have been given as gifts by GC members to make it happen, and other members of the GC are praying for growing relationships.
We encourage everybody at SCPC to belong to a Gospel Community – growing as followers of Jesus in community and on mission. We currently have seven Gospel Communities and would love to see those communities multiplying and increasing our gospel reach. If you would like to know more about our Gospel Communities, please get in touch with either of our Pastors via the “Contact” menu tab.