Adult Ministry Updates

Will 2019 Be a New Year for You?

Did you know if you Google “consumerism” you will get 21,000,000 hits? Face it; we have become a VERY consumer-driven society. It has gotten to the point that we now have citizen-activists for anti-consumerism. So how does the church address a consumerist mentality when the goal of the church is not to be about us but to be about Jesus and other-centered?
 
I realize that everyone still has important needs that when they are not addressed can impede their spiritual growth and their ability to mature as a Christ-Follower. BUT, we also cannot provide programming to satisfy everyone’s needs. That puts the focus on meeting individual needs. We need to remain laser-focused on what we are about as a church, the body of Christ. To make disciples, care for our community and plant churches as God provides the resources.
 
That is why we put such emphasis on small group involvement. Small groups are where the “rubber hits the road.” Life on life can only happen in a smaller gathering of people. The smaller the group gets, the more intimate and transparent the relationships can be and the higher level of accountability. Jesus knew this. Even though he spent time with hundreds and even thousands of people he invested more of himself into smaller and smaller groups of people. He had the twelve, but he was even closer and more intimate with three of them. Why should it be any different for us?
 
For spiritual maturity to take place, we have to be willing to be transparent with at least one other person, but we also need to surround ourselves with people who will not be afraid to speak into our lives as the need arises (without us getting upset and taking our marbles and going home).
 
There are no gender types or ages that this is strictly applicable to either. We ALL need this in our lives. To think otherwise is only fooling ourselves. This is also why we have small groups for our Kid and Student ministries. We want to begin instilling this idea in our children and youth at an early age, so it becomes a part of who they are.
 
I realize for many this is not especially good news. Men in particular grapple with this as we are often raised with the idea that “if it is going to be it is up to me.” For too long men have sat in small groups joking and dealing with surface issues without going deep and becoming the spiritual leaders that God intended them to be.
 
We have to move beyond accepting that all that people need is to hear a sermon on Sunday and then everything else in their life is business as usual. We should be offended anytime we look at the cross. Why? Because of what it represents.
 
Christ died for us on the cross. He gave his all. In turn, we think that giving him an hour and a half on Sunday is plenty. That we can go about the rest of our lives as if he didn’t exist. We don’t let him into our work lives. We don’t allow him to take our thoughts captive to stay away from temptation and sinful desires. We don’t go to him for decisions in our lives, in dealing with our finances, family issues and concerns, our health. You fill in the blank. Where do you not let him in?
 
For far too long Christians have gotten away with a Gospel that has been diluted. No one wants to offend anyone. No one wants to hold people accountable for what they mean when they say they are a Christ Follower. After all, anyone can be a “believer,” even Satan believes in God, so that is not saying much.
So what does this have to do with small groups? A lot! Because that is where we are going to become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. If we allow it, that is where we can have people surrounding us who love us; who care about us; who are willing to walk alongside us during a crisis; to celebrate our victories and to mourn our losses.
 
As we begin 2019, I challenge you to get into a small group. Our connect groups begin the week of January 6, and you can see what is available by going to cccaz.org/connectgroups. If you don’t see something you like, consider starting a group yourself. Crack the door of your life a little. Put your toe in the water. Believe me; you won’t regret it.
 
Happy New Year,
 
Pastor Fred

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