On September 10, our Sunday morning schedule will change to include time for small group meeting between the Sunday morning worship services. Our new Sunday morning schedule will be:
8:30 - 9:30 Traditional Worship
9:45 - 10:45 LIFE Groups
11:00 - 12:15 Contemporary Worship
LIFE Groups is the terminology we will use for our small group ministry. What follows is an explanation of the LIFE Group concept.
The twin goals of all the we do in Church is to love God and love people. As we do these two things, Jesus tells us that we can begin to live life the way God has always intended for His creatures to live it: abundantly. Jesus told His followers that His primary mission was to make it possible for us to live life the way God designed and destined us to live when He said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10b).”
And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37-38).”
First and foremost, the life of a Christian is about loving God. The mature Christian worships God daily, moment by moment. Scripture tells us repeatedly that the love of God is characterized by obedience to God. We gather in small groups to encourage one another to love God and open ourselves to God's transforming grace so that we can live consistently with God's design for our lives.
Investigate Our Faith
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).”
Bible study is very important. The Scripture tells us that in the beginning was the Word (of God) and that the Word became flesh in the person of Jesus. So, learning the ways of Jesus as described in the Bible is paramount to our process of becoming fully formed followers of Jesus. It is also helpful to read about Christian history and theology. In our context, as United Methodists, it is important that we read John Wesley and other leaders who have formed our theological understandings. Scripture is our primary source of knowledge about God, but we need to engage past and current Christian thinkers as conversation partners who can help us come to a greater understanding of God and God's world.
Fellowship with Followers
“but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin 1 John 1:7).”
The type of relationships described in the Bible are of a very different character than most of us typically experience. As Christians, we share a faith, a mission, and values. The basis of our fellowship is our being of one body with Christ and sharing in the one Spirit of God. Jesus has brought us into the family of God, so that we are brothers and sisters in God's family. In God's family, there is the possibility of deep trust, knowing, acceptance, and forgiveness that is offered nowhere else.
Engage the Community
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:18-20).”
The goal of church-community engagement is to make disciples. While there are many different strategies for making disciples, the most effective strategies always follow the example of Jesus in service to others. While we are serving others food, we tell them about Jesus’ love. While painting a house, we model Jesus’ love. Wherever we are and whatever we are doing, we are living Jesus’ love with the hope that God's love will flow through us so that everyone we encounter will respond to the grace of God by joining us on the journey toward Christlikeness.
LIFE Groups and Community
The purpose of the church is to love God and love people. As we do these two things, we engage in the process of intentional disciple-making. That task is best accomplished together. My hope is that we have more people in LIFE Groups at Ocoee Oaks than we have attending worship each week. I hope that these groups give life to us a church and as individuals and that through them we become more and more of who God has called us to be.