Cities Church is made up of five (soon to be seven) Community Groups located throughout the different neighborhoods of Minneapolis and St. Paul. These Community Groups exist because we, as a church, want to seek the good of these Cities. We want to show and tell the love of Jesus, and make a real impact where we live and among our friends — and we think the most effective way that we do this is if we team up to focus on specific areas and relationships. The word we use for this is mission. We want to be on mission together.
And as God has sent new faces to Cities over the past six months, the process has been, for people who are interested, to connect with them and then channel them to a Community Group so they can get plugged in there. This was a pretty basic strategy and it has been working well, except that we didn’t foresee that God would continue to send us as many new people this quickly who want to get plugged in.
The New Challenge
And the challenge has become that our Community Groups are getting really big and have sort of developed this swinging door. On the nights that these Groups meet to grow together as disciples of Jesus and be mobilized out for mission, there are new people each time, some who we’ve channeled there just to check things out. And because we gotten into this rhythm, it feels like we are still just trying to rearrange things for mission, and haven’t really started doing mission. At the same time, many new people who have come to these Groups to learn more about the church don’t really get their questions answered. And there is a lot of mission and vision stuff that is left out.
Which means, because of our growth, the way things are set up now isn’t the most effective — neither for our Community Groups nor for the new people God sends us.
We want our Community Groups nimble and focused for mission. And we want new people who want to learn more about Cities to get their questions answered. We aren’t doing either great right now.
The Slight Tweak
So here’s our solution.
We want to settle our Community Groups for the fall. We are going to stop rearranging things and let the Groups gel as they are, and focus on mission.
We we are going to start a new group for new people, if you are interested, that is going to teach through the mission and vision of Cities. It will meet five different Wednesdays this fall, first on October 14 and then last on December 2. We are calling this group “The Foyer.”
We think this will be best for forming and mobilizing our Community Groups for mission, and for explaining the mission and vision of Cities to those who want to join us and get involved.
So if that’s you — if you want to get plugged in or learn more about Cities — we’d love to connect you to “The Foyer.” The way to get plugged into this group is through…
- letting me or another pastor know;
- going to our Connect page and filling out our info
The location is TBD, but it will start at 6PM. Here’s a schedule:
October 14 — Great Commission, Identity, Essentials (Matthew 28:18–20)
- Who is Jesus and what does he say? Who are we and what do we really care about?
October 28 — Discipleship in Distance and Depth (Colossians 1:28)
- What do we actually mean by “discipleship”?
November 4 — Community Groups
- Why are Community Groups the organizing mission strategy of our church?
November 18 — Life Groups
- How are we intentional about life-change and Christian maturity?
December 2 — Q&A on What We Believe
- Review and open discussion on our doctrinal foundation
More Important Than Strategy
Okay, so look. This is all strategy stuff. I love this kind of stuff. But here’s the thing with strategies — they are always necessary, but never sufficient.
We can draw up a lot of different ways and plans to do all kinds of things, but the most important thing, always, is that we are overcome by the gospel of Jesus. That is what we need the most, and that is where we most feel our need. Our biggest problem isn’t lacking the right strategy, it’s that our hearts are not enthralled by the love of God as they should be.
Melissa and I were just having dinner with some friends last night, and we were sharing our stories and how Jesus just stepped in and changed our lives, and it hit me as we were talking, over a decade since I collided with Jesus, that I still don’t understand the grace of God like I want to. It is so immense, so gloriously scandalous and amazing, that I haven’t grasped it all. There is more of my life that needs to be overcome by God’s love and by what Jesus did for me. And I think this is a good segue into confession.
Strategy is important, yeah, yeah, but most important is that we are transformed by the death and resurrection of Jesus for sinners — for people like us who could never deserve God’s love. So let’s pray:
Prayer of Confession
Father, have mercy on us, please, for how easily we forget the grace that you have worked in our lives. The is the first thing we must say. We confess that too often the recollection of your mercies are too difficult for us, not because your mercies aren’t there — in fact, your mercies abound — but our minds and hearts are so clouded with other things. The joy and comfort of being yours is too distant from our thoughts. Forgive us, please, and teach us. Renew in our souls the wonder of what it means to be forgiven, to be your children. Father, awaken in us again a fresh understanding of your grace in the gospel.
That we do not deserve you. We do not deserve your love. But you sent Jesus, and in spite of us, you loved us. In spite of us you loved us, because your grace is that great. Jesus took our sin. He died in our place. You lavished your mercy upon us. You drew us to yourself. You opened our eyes. Make us see anew, we ask.
By your Spirit, please lead us now in a time of silent confession, and remembrance.