Ending Season, Part 3 (03.21.22)
In order to make space to rebuild our culture and structure for community as a church, Community Groups will walk through an ending season now through Easter. This guide will lead CGs through helpful biblical perspectives and discussion prompts around the theme of endings—such as sabbath rest, God’s calling into transitions, testifying to God’s work, and reflecting on learned wisdom.
Outline of Weeks to Come:
- Learning and Wisdom (3.7.22)
- Gratitude and Appreciation (3.14.22)
- Testifying to the Work of God (3.21.22)
- Sabbath and Resting the Ground (3.28.22)
- God’s Call to Move (4.4.22)
- Holy Week & Seder Passover Meal – Remembering God’s Faithfulness (4.11.22)
After the group welcomes one another, have one person open in prayer and then take 2-3 minutes of silence. As you sit in silence, ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart in love toward Jesus and your group mates.
Now & Next
Each week we’ll give some information to help your group know how the church is transitioning our CGs and revamping our approach to community ministry. This will be in the format of Now (how CGs currently function in our church) and Next (where we are headed in our community ministry).
CGs (until recently) have no ending. They continue forever ongoing with a commitment to consistent attendance. While there is value to that kind of ongoing commitment in some relationships, there are also drawbacks to that being our expectation for CGs.
For one, our CG culture has had trouble with endings. When a person moves away or steps down from leading, it can feel like a major grief and loss—even a betrayal of the ongoing commitment. Those leaving may feel like they are doing something wrong, and those staying might grow jaded toward those leaving and cynical about forming new relationships at church. This is a broken element of our culture, and it needs a change.
Starting with this set of Ending Season Guides, we are practicing what good endings that honor God and one another look like. Also, re-launched groups will meet for a committed several-month season, rather than an ongoing forever commitment. All groups will have endings when the group season is complete, which will allow us to continue practicing ending well.
About groups becoming seasonal, we believe this switch will make the commitment to attend more manageable (committing to a thing with an end date rather than an endless thing). The last advantage we see is that it creates room for choices in our always-changing lives.
For example, if a person moves from the Sunset to North Beach and would like to be part of a group closer to home, they can finish up a season with their group in the Sunset and then join next season with a group in North Beach. There will be room for movement and choices.
Maybe you’re wondering, Does that mean I’ll have to create a new group each season? No. In fact, at the end of each season we’ll encourage groups to remain connected and even opt into the next season together! The same is true now as we go through our first ever ending season.
We encourage any who want to make the seasonal commitment to rejoin with this same group of people when groups relaunch. At the same time, no harm, no foul if any person chooses not to opt back in with the same people when groups relaunch at the end of the year.
Encourage One Another, Build One Another Up
Read Titus 3:3-7 and 1 John 1:1-4 and then silently reflect on specific ways you want to give God credit for the work He has done in your life:
- These scriptures highlight how life-changing it is to know Jesus. What are ways you that see relationship with Jesus has transformed your life over the course of this group?
- How have the people of this group ministered to you ways that have called you into more with Jesus?
- How do you want to testify to God’s work in your life in and through this group?
- Take these testimonies into a prayer of gratitude to God, worshiping Him with thanksgiving.
Thank God for the good you have witnessed Him do in you, your group, our church, our city, and our world.
Up Next Week
Sabbath and Resting the Ground — There’s a time to rest, stop our work, take a pause, and prepare our hearts to receive what’s to come.