WHAT IS A LIFE GROUP? | This is the term we use at HCC for our Small Group Ministry.
The Christian life was not meant to be lived alone in a vacuum; Jesus promised us a life beyond mediocre, getting by, making it, or just hanging in there, he promised the abundant life.
Follow the link below to fill out the Life Group Registration Form and get connected to a group local to you.
HCC Life Groups are:
Safe| Leaders, facilitators, hosts are responsible to create a safe place where trust can be built, connections are made, and people feel safe! If you don’t do anything else, you must do this!
Salubrious means “favorable to or promoting health or well-being” This part of the HCC Culture and a necessary ingredient for spiritual growth.
“People don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care!” (John Maxwell)
Authentic| Having sustained growth in a small group requires a level of trust that will in turn foster transparency; being unauthentic, fake, or dishonest will not get the results expected for spiritual maturity. True growth happens when we take risks and step out of our comfort zone and tr God has for us.
"Oh, dear Corinthian friends! We have spoken honestly with you, and our hearts are open to you. There is no lack of love on our part, but you have withheld your love from us. I am asking you to respond as if you were my own children. Open your hearts to us!" - 2 Corinthians 6:11-13
"Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results." -James 5:16
"If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts." - 1 John 1:8-10
Loyal to HCC| The Great Commandment and the Great Commission is our call and is why it is important that our members reinforce the mission of HCC; loyalty to the mission encourages membership. It is not healthy if our small groups invest in studying materials that are not inline or agrees with what HCC believes and teaches.
“Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” - Amos 3:3
"So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad." - 1 Corinthians 12:24b-26
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one "as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” - John 17:20-21
Transformational| Spiritual growth is the goal of our LIFE Groups. God uses people to bring grace and transformation to one another.
"Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." -Romans 12:2
“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are[a] being renewed every day.” - 2 Corinthians 4:16
“He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.“ - Ephesians 4:16
"Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God "truly righteous and holy." - Ephesians 4:21-24
HCC Life Groups practices:
Grace and Truth over Time| Grace is the understanding that God is for you and there are certain abilities we can only exhibit with God’s grace. In the context of a small group setting, there will be times when we must come along side of each other and give grace in the form of an ability the other can’t provide for themselves. Experiencing total grace comes in the form of acceptance and forgiveness "a Life Group should never be the source of shame, guilt, judgment, or condemnation.
Truth is provided through the word of truth God’s Holy Word and when we are open and honest with one another telling the truth in love when it might be hard to say, but you know someone needs to hear it.
“Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” -Ephesians 4:14-15
Time is the ingredient that ties all of this together. None of this will happen overnight but will happen over time provided that the groups are kept safe and people feel free to open up and share without feeling condemned or threatened.
Reconciliation| We have been given the ministry of reconciliation with the goal of reconciling man to God and man to each other. The group helps bring people closer to God and the life that he wants them to live. Life Groups should help reconnect through real relationships to God and through experiencing connections with others within the group.
Ownership| People will need to own their issues and take responsibility for their own spiritual growth; no more excuses. In a healthy Life Group, people learn to confess their shortcomings, failures, and fears in the confines of safety and acceptance. Confrontation is not meant to be negative, confront means to “face front;” we learn how to face our problems head on and not run away or hide from them.
Unity of mind| Connecting within the Life Group and connecting outside of the group leads to closer connections with God. You learn behaviors within the small group that transfer to other parts of your life as you grow and become more spiritually mature. Maturity doesn’t come through knowledge it comes through application of what is learned. We no longer live compartmented lives separated by sacred or secular; they both become one.
"If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do." - James 1:5-8
“You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong "you want only what will give you pleasure. You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the spirit God has placed within us is filled with envy? But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud, but favors the humble.” So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world." - James 4:2-8
Purpose| The opening line of the first chapter of the Purpose Driven Life states that “It’s not about you” (Warren 2002 p. 17). And then goes on to say “The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose” (Warren 2002 p. 17).
One of the most effective ways of discipleship or evangelism is placing new believers or non-believers in a small group with seasoned believers, this is known as the “empty chair” philosophy.
"Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us." - Romans 12:3
Service| A Cup of Cold Water ministry and other Community Outreach programs provide ways in which HCC can serve the outside community as a Social Center of God’s Kindness through Service Projects. HCC Life Groups are expected to schedule time within their groups to serve the community. Life Groups manage their own projects according to their availability and time commitments. Individuals are also encouraged to serve according to their Spiritual Gifting and S.H.A.P.E. profile.
“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” – 1 Peter 4:10