What are community groups at TCC?

1 May 2013

If our Sunday gathering is the central heart, the big pump, at TCC, and our individual lives like capillaries, our community groups (CGs) are like arteries.

Scattered around the region, community groups are ‘extended families’ of Christians sharing life together on mission. Community groups are the context in which we can live ‘everyday church’. Because each CG is in a different context; different people, in different stages of life, with different neighbours, friends and colleagues, in a different part of Tyneside, each CG will look a bit different. But there are four main ‘spaces’ for every CG:

1) Fellowship: gathering around the Bible for Bible study and prayer. CGs study the same passage mid week that was preached on the previous Sunday, with a particular focus to apply it to their lives and mission.

2) Sharing life: this will involved lots of mealtimes together in homes, but also meeting elsewhere for coffees, meals out, and so on.

3) Serving: each CG finds ways for some or all of its members to be involved in showing practical care and concern for the needy in their area. This may be volunteering with homeless people, helping in a food bank, or more.

4) Participating: getting involved in things that are already going on in the CG’s area; this might be a pub quiz, a sports group, or more.

Notice a few things about these ‘spaces’. Firstly, this level of intentional, gospel-centred sharing of life together on mission won’t happen by accident. Rather, CGs thrive within a simple church, where gospel communities are free to be gospel communities. Secondly, notice that each of the four spaces functions as a ‘side door’ for mission. When we participate (4th space), say in a sports group, we have an opportunity to make connections and friendships with people who may be a million miles away from ever coming to church. We also affirm that we aren’t separatists who want to withdraw and do our own thing all the time. We also support the civic fabric of our communities.

When we serve the needy (3rd space), we demonstrate the grace of the gospel and show light to a dark world.

When we invest in meals, coffees, and a general posture of sharing life (2nd space) together, we’re able to invite and include people very easily. It’s easy to find ways to share life with friends, neighbours and colleagues when church life is structured that way.

When we gather for Bible study and prayer, we are able to display a level of authenticity and genuine community as we apply and repond to the Bible together, because ‘community’ has not been compartmentalised to one or two hours in the week; rather, it’s the sphere within which we live our lives. CGs are extended gospel families sharing life together on mission, to make Jesus famous, loved, and followed.

This blog post was written by Dan Martin.