Grace Groups and Cell / Celebration at Grace Point
Q. What is a Grace Group (the cell aspect of cell / celebration)?
A. A Grace Group is a small intimate group of six to twelve people, on average, who come together on a periodic basis in designated homes or other meeting places. Their purpose is to encourage one another in fellowship, in prayer, in understanding Biblical principles and in evangelizing their community. Just as natural cells are for maintaining physical life, Cell based churches believe cell groups (Grace Groups) are necessary for maintaining spiritual life and are Christ’s model for completing the Great Commission.
The Early Church Example:
Following the example of the early church in Acts 2:46-47, we see “Cell Group Ministry” at its core. The model of the New Testament Church of Acts 2:46-47 says, - They worshipped together regularly at the Temple and also met regularly in small groups in homes for communion and fellowship. The shared their meals together with great joy and thankfulness, praising God and each day God added to them all who were being saved (paraphrased).
Like the early church, Grace Point has a two winged approach to meeting; a public “temple” service on Sunday (the Corporate Celebration) and a more private “home” meeting of smaller groups of 6 – 12 during other days of the week (the cell or in this case Grace Group)
The pattern still works today! As a believer or seeker, you need a group of like minded people to support and surround you. They can offer prayer, keep you accountable in any area of weakness and or strength and be a support to you during difficult trying times. In addition a Grace Group is the ultimate place to test and develop your individual gifting. Your Grace Group partners will help you discover your spiritual gifts and help you to learn how to apply those gifts.
When you come to a Sunday Celebration service you will see the “Face” of Grace Point; when you attend a Grace Group you will experience the “Heart” of Grace Point.
The Purpose of a Grace Group
To grow in relationship with the Father
To grow in relationship with one another
To grow in our individual gifting and anointing through ministry
To be disciple and to disciple others
To evangelize and win to Jesus those within our circle of influence.
Types of Grace Groups
Homogenous Groups (like interests)
Note: You may choose the type of group that most fits your personality, interests or needs.
Q. Why should I be in a Grace Group?
A. There are many reasons. Everyone of us has an inherent need to belong. Grace Group participation will meet that need. As you build relationships with others a bond is created. It is our deep personal friendships that make our life rich and your Grace Group allows for just such a blessing.
When you need encouragement your Grace Group supplies, when you need help your Grace Group is there, when you need prayer your Grace Group is on their knees interceding on your behalf. Pastoral care escalates in Grace Groups because of the small intimate size of the group. Your Shepherd (Grace Group Leader) can immediately take the needed steps to help you in any way and if there is a need that the Church Leaders (Grace Point Overseers) need to know about they are notified at once. There are many benefits that you will experience when you join a Grace Group, but the biggest one is relationship; relationship with God and relationship with each other.
Q. Will I be called on to talk or pray?
A. No! Group Leaders are trained to be sensitive, not only to the Lord, but also to the people within the group. There is no pressure applied to persons who are not yet ready to pray or to share before the group. It is however within the long-range goals of every Grace Group leader to develop deep personal relationships within the group members so to that in time every person in the group will feel safe enough to have the liberty to pray or to share a comment or a testimony or whatever is on their heart at the time.
Q. How long does the group meeting last?
A. Meetings last on average for 90 minutes – 2 hours, but the format is flexible and you are welcome to come on go as your time needs dictate. This allows for those who have children in school and wish to get them to bed or who may have other issues such as job needs etc to attend group and also meet those other concerns.
Meetings do sometimes go longer then the allotted time and often people choose to stay and fellowship after the formal portion of the meeting has ended. But again, the freedom is yours to come and go as your needs dictate.
Q. Should I bring my children?
A. Yes and No. Each group is different and you will need to get plugged into a group that meets your needs / interests and if children are a part of that need, then let’s get you into a group where children are welcome and then yes bring them. But please know that not every group is set up to allow for children and often inside of the group sensitive things are discussed and this may need to be considered from time to time if someone is dealing with a particular issue that may not be child appropriate.
There is also the option of the group providing for the children in other aspects. Some groups appoint someone within the group to schedule activities for the children, some groups arrange for a baby-sitter to watch the children during the meeting.
Where children are concerned, there are many options and we are sure there is one to fit you needs and desires even if that desire is to just have a night away from the kids.
Q. Is it a “Bible Study”?
A. Yes and No. Not in the strictest sense of the phrase. While teaching from the Word is part of the basic structure of the meeting, the teaching time is more discussion oriented and not teacher student oriented. The group leaders serve as a facilitator to promote the discussion and the meeting in general. A great effort is made in each group to practically apply the Word of God to each of the group members lives. There is also an emphasis on personal ministry to the individual needs of each group member.
In addition, the group flow is designed to be lead by the Holy Spirit and as such, have structure, but be flexible enough within that structure to allow for Holy Spirit to lead. This may take and will take different shapes and forms as we grow deeper in out ability to be receptive to and lead by the Holy Spirit (i.e. some times a group may just go out and get ice cream and fellowship or sometimes they may feel called to do a prayer walk within the neighborhood or town, or it just may be a night of deep worship – however the Holy Spirit leads),
Q. What other things are typically done in meetings?
A. Each meeting will vary in order and flow, but typically a meeting might begin with a time of informal fellowship and the when the meeting starts there is usually a sharing question called and “icebreaker:. It is a simple question designed to get people a change to share about themselves thus giving everyone in the group a chance to learn about each other. This usually takes 15 minutes or so and then there is a time of worship either in song or in reading or the Word such as something from the Book of Psalms. Often someone in the group who plays guitar may lead this time or the group may choose to sing along to a worship CD or tape – it really doesn’t matter what the format, the goal is to worship the Lord and to invite Him to share the evening with us.
After the time of worship, the usually is a time in the Word where there may be a short teaching, but usually it is a time where the Word is read and then a discussion is generated about what was read. After that there is usually a time where needs, both physical needs and prayer needs are presented and where possible met. Needs may arise that the group can meet from a physical standpoint (like someone needing a ride someplace during the week etc) and needs may arise where prayer and the laying on of the hands is called for. Wherever possible the need is met and where the need cannot be met, the group is asked to keep that need in prayer throughout the week.
The meeting typically closes with a prayer and a sharing of the vision.
This structure is known as the 4 Ws (Welcome, Worship, Word and Works). It is the basic structure of Grace Groups, but again the structure is loose, allowing for the Holy Spirit’s leading.
Q. How do I know which group to be in?
A. It is your choice. Because we plan to have groups over a broad geographic area you may choose to be in the group which is closest to you. Homogeneous (like interest) groups are popular because members have common interests. Many also choose to attend groups with people they already have strong relationships with even if it does mean they might have to drive further to get there. All options are okay – the choice is yours.
Note: Virtually all ministries of Grace Point can be an outflow of the Grace groups. Hospital visitation, prison ministries, youth ministries, evangelism events as well as benevolence needs and so on, can all be served in and through the Grace Groups. If a Group has a heart for a particular ministry, they are encouraged to pick up that ministry and run with it. Therefore we do not view Grace Groups as just another program of Grace Point; quite the contrary; we view Grace Groups as the core of Grace Point. The ministry which all other ministries flow out of. This concept has deep spiritual basis and one that is remarkably effective as it models God’s design for His “New Testament Church”.