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.
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.
An essential part of a community groups meeting is eating together. For some groups this will look like a potluck meal, for others it might mean snacks or dessert or even coffee at Panera because a group gathers there. Having food together is a simple but perennial way God has designed for people to connect to one another.
Each community group meeting will include a time of sharing prayer requests and praying together.Each community group is free to organize this in a way that serves the group best. Many community groups will find using the Daily Office a great tool for this.
While a community group is not a Bible study in the traditional sense, every group is expected to have conversation around Biblical content. This can look like discussing the Sunday Lectionary readings, reading a Christian book together or working through a video training course. Different community groups will have a different balance between these three things. Some will focus on study, some on praying, and some on caring. In fact, every group might emphasize a different aspect of group life at different seasons in their life.
This group will meet on Thursdays from 7 to 8:30 p.m. to discuss practical ways to deal with the 10 issues men say matter most to them. Using video clips from The Christian Man/Man in the Mirror to prompt discussion, we will pursue a clearer understanding of what it is to be a man who believes in, and is a disciple of, Jesus Christ in the everyday reality of living in the world today.
This group will meet on the 2nd and the 4th Saturday or Sunday. 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 :)
This group will meet on the 2nd and 4th Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon at the Matthews' home. Hosted by Trudi Matthews, this group welcomes both men and women and is a study of The Rev. Tish Harrison Warren’s The Liturgy of the Ordinary. An international-themed potluck brunch happens at every meeting. This group is open to singles, couples and families with kids.
This women's group will meet on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Sprinkle's home. We will gather twice a month to fellowship, encourage and support each other, pray and study scripture together.
This group will meet on the 2nd and 4th Mondays from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Pete Matthews' home. This group will be a time for men to gather, study the Bible, pray, fellowship, encourage, and share beverages.
This group meets every other Monday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Apostles' Youth Lounge. We seek to nurture life together in Christ as we share the blessings, opportunities, and challenges common among women today. We will study A Spacious Life by Ashley Hales, pray, and taste-test sweet and/or savory treats!
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 weekend of rest and renewal together is an annual tradition for the women in our parish. These retreats provide an opportunity to go deeper in our walk with Christ while building lasting friendships with one another.
Dinner dates are an easy way for households to be matched with other households from the church to get together for dinner. It can be meeting at a restaurant or hosting a home-cooked meal; the idea is simply to connect with someone new.
Men's breakfasts are an opportunity for the men of the parish to get together on a Saturday morning, share a meal, and go deeper in their walk with the Lord together. It a great time for mutual support and encouragement.
Ladies' Nights are a time for the women of the parish to get together in each others' homes, eat, drink, share stories, and have fun. Sometimes, we bring crafts; sometimes, we just sit and chat. Regardless, it's always a good time.
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.
Find out more about how you can get plugged in here at Saint Patrick's Church.
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