Care groups are the basic units for Christian community within Redeemer Church. Consisting of 10-20 people, these small groups meet weekly (either as the whole group, men only, or women only) on Wednesday evenings. A few of these groups meet at different times to accomodate work and family schedules. The early church met regularly in smaller groups in each city and many of the “one-anothers” befit contexts small enough to practice them. The smallness of these groups help foster gospel community that makes Christ supreme in every area of life. It is our prayer that Care Groups be characterized by the following:
The church devotes itself to the apostles’ teaching (Acts 2:42; 4:33). Indeed, “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17). Some care groups review the sermon text each week, while others may study a particular book that develops a biblical theme. Whatever the case, we seek to apply biblical truth in specific ways to our lives, so that we might be further conformed to the image of Christ.
True and lasting change that glorifies God must stem from a heart motivated by God’s boundless love and grace as well as his awesome holiness and judgment. Both are announced in “the gospel,” a message that doesn’t merely get people into the kingdom, but serves their ongoing transformation for the kingdom. The Holy Spirit uses the gospel to save the church (1 Cor 15:1-2), enlighten the church (2 Cor 4:4-6), motivate the church (1 Cor 9:23; 2 Cor 9:13), unite the church (Phil 1:27), humble the church (Phil 2:1-8), protect the church (Gal 1:9-11), warn the church (2 Thess 1:8), embolden the church (Eph 6:15), and so forth. Therefore, the goal in care groups isn’t merely behavior modification, a kind of new ethic without the power of the cross. Rather, the goal is to admonish one another in the gospel such that by treasuring who God is for us in Jesus Christ, we are compelled to live in ways pleasing to him.
We must move beyond the superficial. Genuine love for one another doesn't grow when we hide in the dark but walk together in the light (Acts 19:18; 1 John 1:5-10; Jas 5:16). Through formal discussion questions in a group setting or sincere questions one-on-one, we strive to spur one another along in the faith (Heb 3:12-13), weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice (Rom 12:15). That also means care groups become a context for people to voice their needs, and then for others to pray and help meet those needs when voiced (Jas 2:14-17; 1 John 3:17-18). Whether through conversation, prayer, study, or service, we seek to invest in each other's lives to fight sin, treasure Christ, and cultivate brotherly affection and service (Heb 10:24; Jas 1:22). Christian growth doesn't happen in isolation; it's a community project.
The church is a community of people characterized by God’s mission to save the world (Matt 28:18-20; Acts 2:47; Rom 1:14). Our lives should demonstrate on all fronts a commitment to the ongoing march of the gospel (1 Cor 9:19-23). Thus, care groups provide a great context for accountability and partnership in the advance of the gospel wherever we live, work, and play. Group members can meet together at local parks, invite neighbors to front-yard grillouts, target neighborhoods for outreach, and pray for lost coworkers and friends. Care groups can also listen for specific needs of any neighbors living in closest proximity to them, and then seek to do them good (Gal 6:10; 1 Thess 5:15). The goal is to enter people's lives, bear witness to the love of Jesus, give them a tangible expression of his love in the church, and ask God to make more disciples through us.