Posted on 11-04-2015
Filed Under (talking points) by David Chong

I’m thankful to God for the signs of spiritual friendships growing through small groups as we pray/share with each other after service, as we share meals and as we do life together through covenant groups. Here are some reflections from Soo Inn (who will be preaching this Sunday) that highlight this crucial need:

“Isn’t friendship something that is basic and obvious? Precisely. Friendship should be something that is basic to human life. But it is not. Or no longer. We live in an age when someone could have 1,000 friends on Facebook but no face-to-face friends. We live in an increasingly lonely world and the church is not spared. God said that it is not good for humankind to be alone (Genesis 2:18). The destructive effects of loneliness are well documented. The loneliness of much of modern church life also means the church loses a key way to help her members grow in Christlikeness.

The main way that people are taught in many of our churches is through some form of instruction — sermons, talks, lectures, etc. People sit in rows, passively listening as someone talks. There is little or no interaction between the teacher and the audience or between the members of the audience. Contrast this with how Jesus nurtures His disciples. He calls them to a relationship with Him (Mark 3:13–19) and He spends three years in community with twelve of them, spending extra time with three of them (Mark 9:2). Indeed, He specifically calls them His friends (John 15:13–15). Jesus teaches His disciples relationally. Therefore we think it is critical that churches recover this relational approach to helping followers of Jesus mature in Christlikeness.”

That’s also why this Alvin, Tom and Janet will conduct a leader’s training workshop tomorrow. If you want to learn how to make disciples and grow leaders, this is for you.

Date: 11 April (Sat)
Time: 2.00-5.00pm
Venue: CDPC Puchong

Dream with us how covenant groups can be “a discipleship life, a way in which people who are committed to growing in Christ help one another imitate Christ and grow in gospel virtues. Spiritual friends, through their life together, learn from one another what discipleship means and how we can acquire and develop the attitudes and virtues of Christ — they help each other become better friends of God.” (Paul Waddell)

Some reflections from Alvin: Ever since Jesus walked Israel, small groups have been a primary arena for discipleship. Jesus led a small group of 12, and an inner group of 3. The apostles also cultivated ministry teams wherever they went. The Christians in the catacombs formed small groups. The monks, priests and desert fathers and mothers all formed small groups too. As the church grew and spread in its various forms, disciple-making and worship continued to involve small groups of various sorts. John Wesley formed bands to help people grow like Christ. We are now the inheritors of this great, ancient and life-giving ministry.

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