One of the easiest errors to make about growing as a disciple is that it is essentially about learning more and more content. As important as content is, what’s more important is Christ-centered relationships. There are two key reasons why Christ-centered relationships are central. First, in disciple-making, more is caught than is taught. We learn as we grow in friendship and model for one another how to live as disciples. We all need a place where we can practice imitating Christ as we imitate each other(1 Corinthians 11:1). Over the long haul, who we relate to has more influence on our ability to live as fully devoted disciples than the amount of doctrine we have memorized.
The other reason Christ-centered relationships are central is because growing as a disciple is not a linear process. There is no cookie-cutter pattern the Holy Spirit follows as He works with each of us. Each journey is unique and personal. Yet no one can make the journey alone. Everyone needs a place of love, support, connection and even accountability to grow as a disciple. We need a group of other disciples who come alongside and walk with us through the challenging seasons of spiritual growth. This is why we have community groups.
Community groups typically meet twice a month and have 8-12 members, and they are always open to newcomers. There is no single pattern for groups; some groups may be coed with kids while other groups may be for men or women only. The group hosts are responsible for leading, organizing, and shepherding the community group. In our community groups, we do three things: eat, pray, and discuss scripture.
Sharing life together is vital to our growth as disciples. At Saint Patrick's, we invite people into our parish life through common meals, retreats, and all kinds of informal gatherings. However, the core of our life together is community groups.
This group meets bi-weekly on Sunday mornings from 10 a.m. to noon at the Matthews' home for prayer, study, and community. The group, open to both men and women, is studying The Chalmer's Center's "Are You a Good Neighbor?" curriculum. The focus of this group is serving at the Lexington Rescue Mission and creating bridges to the parish to help them serve at the mission.
This group is led by Owen Worthing and is for men who want to dive deeper into healing, Christian maturity, and community. It meets every other Sunday morning.
This group is led by Josh Cashion and meets every other Monday from 7 to 9 p.m. at Apostles' Fellowship Hall. In this group, we are doing an introduction to Anglicanism using the book Simply Anglican by Winfield Bevins and praying Evening Prayer from the Book of Common Prayer. This group is open to men and women.
This group meets every other Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Megan Sprinkle's home.
We gather for fellowship, encouragement, and support of each other as well as prayer and studying scripture together.
This group is led by Pete Matthews and meets every other Monday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Apostles' Fellowship Hall. This group, open to men and women, is studying the Book of Romans and includes a mix of teaching, conversation, and prayer. In the fall, the group is studying chapters 1-8, and in the winter and spring, chapters 9-16.
This group meets every other Wednesday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at either Erika Olsen or Gena Flener's homes. This group seeks to nurture life together in Christ while sharing the blessings, opportunities, and challenges common among women today.
This group meets every other Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon. The focus of the group isn't on any particular Bible study or curriculum (although we may do some), but rather on creating space to develop deep relationships where we can support each other in "a long obedience in the same direction" (thanks, Eugene!). Brunch is also an essential part of this group.
Common meals bring together our entire parish for food and fellowship. Whether it's our Fat Tuesday pancake dinner or a summer picnic at a local park, these meals are a great way to meet new people and connect with old friends.
Getting away for a day or a weekend of rest and renewal is a tradition in our parish. These group retreats provide an opportunity to go deeper in our walk with Christ while building lasting friendships with one another.
Whether it's Christmas caroling in the neighborhood around the parish, marching in Lexington's Saint Patrick's Day Parade, or serving together at a local mission, our one-day events are an easy way to have fun and meet new people.
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