Get Connected Part 3: Life Change 


On Sunday 30th October at our morning service, we continued our series 'Get Connected'. In this blog you will find a summary of the talk and then some questions and reflections for you to think through on your own or to discuss in your small group.

To listen to the talk on-line, please click here.
To download the talk to listen to off line, please click here.

At the start of our service we watched a Youtube clip from the Lion King.You can watch this by clicking here.
During the talk we watched a Youtube clip about Small Groups. You can watch this by clicking here

Talk Summary
When I was younger I was involved in quite a few sports teams, the most significant one was my schools Basketball Team with my best friend Rachel. We had our ups and downs, but through it all we supported each other and worked together to try and win!

You find teams/small groups of people in all aspects of life - Sports Teams; Work Team; Family Groups.
They are all different but in every group it comprises of people with different skills; abilities and personalities all working towards the same goal. If it is a good group then they will be supporting each other through the tough times, and celebrating the good!

Jesus knew that being part of a small close knit group of people was so important that he created the very first “Life Group”. Jesus thought it was of fundamental importance to create a small group of friends who would be with him every step of the way. 12 people who brought different gifts and talents and would share the most wonderful and most terrible times of his life.  

In Luke 6: v 12-16: it describes the moment when Jesus was choosing his men to join his Life Group. He spent all night praying on his decision, it was important! And in verse 13 it tells us how he called all of his disciples to him and chose 12 to be his apostles. You can read this by clicking here. 

The definition of a disciple is “a follower or pupil of a teacher, leader, or philosopher”.
Whilst the definition of an apostle is “a vigorous and pioneering advocate or supporter of a particular policy, idea, or cause”.
They are drastically different. One is a student who only learns from his master, whilst the other is a pioneering advocate.

The 12 chosen men were there not only to ask questions and learn, which was of course important, but they were to be the foundations of the Christian church today. The Apostles were not someone to be on the sidelines, but fully committed to spiritual growth and moving towards becoming a teacher themselves. They would have spent virtually every minute of every day alongside each other. They would have known their strengths and weaknesses, and still they loved each other and wanted the best for them no matter what.

Jesus knew the value and ultimate need of being involved in a small group. He knew that for him personally times were going to be hard and without a group of people there helping him through it, he might wonder off course. And he knew that once he had left this earth, times would become incredibly hard for his apostles and they would need the support of each other to get through the persecution that would follow.

The model that Jesus laid out of being part of a circle of a life group has been followed today in churches all over the world.
We believe at EBC there is power and strength in being part of a Life Group and without that support our spiritual growth becomes a harder mountain to climb.

We are living in an increasingly individualistic and disconnected society. People don’t talk anymore, well about the important stuff anyway. It’s like there is a barrier. We spend our lives giving people an impression of ourselves that we think either they want us to be, or we wish we would be. When are we really honest about who we are and how we feel? 
Are you part of a Life Group already? Is it good, or has a bad experience put you off going to one in the future? If you are a Christian, or indeed if you are not, I would like to challenge you and ask why don’t you join one? What are you afraid of? Do you not honestly yearn to break down those hidden barriers and just be yourself. The good the bad and the ugly and just be accepted?

Because true life change and spiritual growth happens in circles when other people are there supporting and challenging you, and breaking down those barriers we have put up to segregate ourselves from those around us.

Life is hard and we need people around us who have got our back don’t we?

Have you got that? People who love you no matter what! If you do, then that is amazing and whatever you do don’t let that go! Let nothing stop you from meeting up with each other.
But if you don’t have that, you can, you just have to make the first step.

Remember, just like when a sports team huddle round in a circle to support each other. Life change happens in circles.
Be part of the Great Circle of Life Groups (nod to the wonderful Lion King!)

Questions and Reflections (for you to think about on your own or to discuss in your small group)

1    What groups are you currently in?

2    How would you define your place within them?

3    What would be positives and negatives of being in a Life Group? Be honest!...

4    What makes a Life Group able to be a Life Changer?

5    Do you feel that vulnerabilities within a group of people is a weakness or strength?

6    How have you helped to support people within a group recently?

7    Do you think that the people in your group know the “real you”?

8    Do you wish you could share in a more intimate Life Group with people, and if so, how can you personally make that happen?

9    What one thing are you going to do today to connect more honestly with people in a group you are in?

Catherine Hanley, 02/11/2016