A Reflection on the Call to Prayer for Lent:
At our last Leadership Council meeting we began with the question: ‘Where do you see the Spirit’s movement within and among us at Christ the Redeemer?’ It is a question we return to often. For me, the answer was dramatically clear: within the growth of our Community Life groups. Let me explain.
When the church was planted, Janis and my children were the only ones still living at home among the original six couples! This (predominantly) empty-nest group chose to combine the ‘communal’ and ‘discipling’ aspects of their lives by forming same-sex Discipleship-focused study groups. These were blessed by God initially with slow, but steady growth.
When the first wave of young families with children arrived, their longing was for ‘community’—especially community which included and involved their children–and this took precedence over their desire for ‘discipleship’ (though it did not eliminate this!). These gathered together (with their children in tow) to share a meal, to get to know one another, to pray together, and—over time—develop the trust to go deeper together. God has blessed this initial grouping beyond my comprehension.
That initial group grew over time that it eventually gave birth to a second group (one meeting in Chesapeake, the other a combination of Norfolk and Virginia Beach). To the initial draw of ‘affinity’, the pole of ‘geography’ began to exercise a greater influence. In the next two years, the second group (the Norfolk-Virginia Beach one) has birthed a second and third group, and is now prepared to give birth to a fourth (three of which will be based in Norfolk, one in Virginia Beach). That, to me, is a sign of the Spirit’s blessing.
If the Spirit continues to bless this movement, could we expect to see those three Norfolk groups multiply into six in a year or two? I, for one, am eager to find out.
But here is the thing: only 40% of our Norfolk contingent are involved in these ‘Community Life’ groups. If we could form three such groups from the 40%, could we form four from 60%, five from 80%, or (dare I say it), six from 100% of us who hail from Norfolk? And again, IF the Spirit continues to bless these groupings, might we see six, (or eight, or ten, or twelve!) such groups in the next year or two?
In our renewed vision for our community, we have discerned that God desire us to ‘intentionally grow’ (which means we are committed to discerning and cooperating with the Spirit), ‘Norfolk-centric’ church (which means that while we seek growth from all areas, we especially seek growth from Norfolk, the ‘mother’ of the ‘mother-to-be’ church).
All of this raises a question: If you are not presently involved in one of these ‘Community groups’, is the Spirit stirring you up, at the present moment, to become part of this movement? Especially if you reside in Norfolk: is this the time for you –and your family– to become involved?
I would encourage all of us to add this to our Lenten prayers. Seek the direction of the Spirit in this, as in all things.