January 22, 2019 |
By Romeo T. Mangiliman We’ve used all sorts of names for it; the most popular today is care group but be it grow group, growth group, cell group or care groups (I’ll use care group for the purpose of consistency), we would all agree that care group serves as a means to an end and not an end in itself. Care groups exist as a way for people to engage in biblical community that help them become more like Jesus. Too often however, we view care groups as merely a program or a fellowship ministry within the church that leaders impose and that church members are expected to carry out. That’s where we missed the point. Because care group is more than that. It is a way of life, encompassing every area of our lives. Acts 2:42-47 gives us a great picture of the early church and the components of biblical community, which includes both the “temple” and the “house to house.” The believers engaged in a life together through teaching, fellowship, communion, prayer, radical generosity and corporate worship. They spent time together eating, learning, celebrating and supporting one another. Their relationships with one another were critical to their pursuit of Jesus, their growth in Christ, and their witness to the Good News. It would be impossible to experience biblical community apart from spiritually significant, intentional relationships with other believers. Relational structures like care groups, therefore, are an integral part of “being” the church and not just “doing” the church. I’m happy to share with you that we at NPUC have also organized ourselves in to care groups. Each group is assigned to a small community in Pasay to care for a number of families. Our first few visits were merely going through the motion; they were prejudice and distant but overtime, as we provide them various services like medical and health services, counseling and seminars, they slowly learned to share part of themselves with us as well. Now we are not just visiting the community, we have become part of the community. Dear brethren, as Dr. Bilezikian writes, “it is in care groups that people can get close enough to each other, to care and share snippets of their lives, to challenge and support, to confide and confess, to forgive and be forgiven, to laugh and weep together, to be accountable to each other, to watch over and each other grow together. Personal growth does not happen in isolation. It is the result of interactive relationships. Care groups are God’sgift to foster changes in character and spiritual growth.”
Seventh-day Adventist beliefs are meant to permeate your whole life. Growing out of scriptures that paint a compelling portrait of God, you are invited to explore, experience and know the One who desires to make us whole.