Gospel Groups might be the most important thing that FWCM offers to college students. We have ministry teams, missional communities, a great worship band, and a college pastor unafraid to preach scripture. All of these things are integral in our identity as FWCM, but Gospel Groups are what could transform the lives of our students with a depth greater than anything else we do.
They are our effort to equip students to bring the lofty commands of the great commission into the concrete situations of daily life. These groups of 3 or 4 students provide the chance to be discipled and to learn how to disciple. They are designed to encourage close-knit relationships where vulnerability is welcomed and imitating Christ’s love and sacrifice to others becomes a regular life event.
Essentially, these groups exist so that students develop close relationships that teach each other how to imitate Jesus in community. We want whole persons to teach whole persons how to become like Christ, and this requires something deeper than a few hours with the large Missional Community. We, like Paul, want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection, sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so somehow, attaining the resurrection of the dead (Philippians 3).
This can happen in Gospel Groups–where students study and memorize scripture, seek accountability, pray together and encourage each other. Life is shared on a more intimate level and Jesus and his grace is made known in the gritty situations of daily life.
The most important part of being a disciple of Jesus is teaching other people how to live like Jesus. While giving a talk on discipleship, a church planter from northern India asked a large audience a seemingly obvious question: “What is the fruit, or byproduct, of a mango?” The audience answered in a low murmur, “a mango.” When prompted to speak louder by the Indian man, they said with more confidence, “mango.” The church planter replied, “Only in Austin, Texas does a mango yield another mango. Everywhere else in the world a mango yields a mango tree.” In the same way, the fruit of discipleship is not one more disciple. The fruit of true discipleship is a disciple-maker.
Yet, disciple-making isn’t the result of a finished curriculum or the culmination of becoming an effective disciple, but an immediate and natural response to being taught to live like Jesus. Our Gospel Groups are intended to facilitate within each student the desire to teach others how to image Jesus well and follow him well. If Gospel Groups are not naturally teaching people how to disciple, then they are failing their purpose.
If you are interested in joining or starting a Gospel Group email us at email@example.com.
Over the past year as each Missional Community has tried to pinpoint where they should serve and get involved, there were times when we began substituting “what we do” as MCs for “who we are” as MCs.
It is an easy thing to confuse. In fact, I have tried to write this post at least three times defining what MCs do without really delving into their identity. Knowing who you are is pivotal as you try to act in ways that glorify God. Our identity drives and directs our practices.
Someone much smarter than me defined MCs this way:
"A community of Christians, on mission with God in obedience to the Holy Spirit, who demonstrate tangibly and declare creatively the gospel of Jesus Christ in their daily life."
A definition this big deserves a little exegesis.
"A community of Christians, on mission with God in obedience to the Holy Spirit,"
Each MC is meant to be this: a community, a network of relationships that reach much farther than just a weekly bible study. They are communities composed of Christians who are saved by the death and resurrection of Jesus, long for His return, and who have been given new hearts that beat for God’s mission to make His name great. The Holy Spirit empowers this community as they seek to glorify God in obedience and hear his voice through the Scriptures.
"…who demonstrate tangibly and declare creatively the gospel of Jesus Christ…"
This is huge. MCs are not about what each individual can receive from a weekly conversation about scripture. MCs are communities where individuals can join with other Christians in the mission of God. We join Him, by declaring His gospel: that God, in Christ, saves sinners.
MCs are communities who collectively represent and declare that great truth. It is a revolutionary message that must be clearly declared in words from our mouths and sacrificially demonstrated in practical ways that mirror the grace and value of God.
"…in their daily life."
MCs aren’t meant to be places where people image Jesus and declare His gospel one day a week, but are networks of relationships that dynamically image the gospel and declare Jesus’ saving work together in the rhythm of daily life.
We want to find the location of the heart of our city and settle there with the rhythm of the heartbeat of Jesus.
Shouldn’t there be more?
Yes, MCs are defined. Great. But what do they do? Or if that question is inherently wrong, in what ways does this now specified identity drive MCs to image Christ in a way that glorifies and declares His saving work? And how and where do I cultivate personal holiness and intimacy with Jesus?
Keep coming back as we go into detail in these coming posts expounding on the practices of Missional Communities:
1. Gospel Groups
2. Daily Rhythms
3. Third Place
4. Missional Community Family Meetings
5. Biblical Community
Love the Gospel. Live the Gospel.
I’m sure all of you have seen news coverage of the explosion in West that occurred Wednesday night. There are a lot of avenues in place for aid and relief through Baylor and local organizations, and we encourage you to get involved in opportunities as they are made available.
A member of First Baptist Woodway works for Salvation Army and has asked for a specific donation. FBC Woodway will be accepting $10 Wal-Mart gift cards that will be distributed to residents of West who have been displaced from their homes. You can drop the Wal-Mart gift cards off at the church office or in College Hour on Sunday at the info tables in the back.
Let’s remember our neighbors and their struggles in the coming days and weeks.
Love the Gospel. Live the Gospel.
Why have we renamed our small groups? People have been wondering this all year long; some people wonder it out loud and some silently. It is a legitimate question. What some of you don’t know is that we have actually renamed them every year for the past four years. In 2009-2010 we called them Small Groups, in 2010-2011 Home Groups, in 2011-2012 Missional Home Groups, and finally this year we call them Missional Communities.
These name changes are not random. They aren’t just some fad we are on or some cool Christian trend and us trying to catch the wave. These decisions are theologically and ecclesiologically based, and they are actually indicative of the path that God has led our college ministry down the past four years. We are growing in understanding our part in the purpose of the church, and responding to it as best we know how.
Our purpose as the church is explicitly stated in the Westminster Shorter Catechism, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” Through Jesus’ last words on earth, we are given a directive on how to best glorify God. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
God has given us a directive on how to glorify himself, we are to teach all men to obey Him and to become His disciples. He doesn’t say to live the rest of your days by being good people and making kind decisions. His directive to all who would be called Followers of Jesus is to teach other people how to follow Jesus as individuals integrated deeply into the body of Christ.
This is what Missional Living and Missional Communities are all about.
This is the beginning of a series of posts outlining Missional Communities at First Woodway. We hope to define MCs, examine the rhythms and practices therein, and help equip you to “go and make disciples” alongside others in your Missional Community.
So, stay tuned to learn more about MCs!
Folks, we've just released our second song off of our EP of songs inspired by Ephesians: "Oh Freedom". Download it now and share with others at:
We hope the song is a blessing to you. Check back on this blog soon to read more about our Ephesians project and the process of creating the EP!
College Associate Worship Pastor
Welcome to the reincarnation of the First Baptist Woodway College Ministry Blog! We’ve done a little bit of renovation to our site and think you’re going to like it.
There will be regular posts in the future with entries that are helpful, interesting, and insightful.
In the future you can look forward to blog entries that might offer a different take on the sermon, brief bios highlighting college students in the ministry, testimonies from people who have been on mission trips, stories of people who exemplify what it means to image Christ to their immediate world in both word and deed, and the occasional guest post.
This blog can be the location where conversations happening across the ministry are brought together online and consolidated for further communal benefit. It will be more relevant and interesting if it covers your interests and questions, so please feel free to send comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
So be looking for updates, entries, and info for the ministry here at the FWCM Blog.
Living Missionally is not just about evangelizing every person you you see. It involves living ordinary lives with gospel intentionality. It is infusing the rhythms of your daily life with the good news of Christ. The writers at GCM Collective have consolidated six ways to image the gospel in the daily rhythms of life.
We live our lives based on the truths of the Gospel story. In fact our lives are a continuation of that story; a part of God's continued work in this world. This is why we need to know the gospel well and how it can apply to every situation. We need to know it and talk about it as often as we stand, sit, walk the bear trail, study for class, and work.
The Spirit dwells with us to show us when and where our lives do not align with the gospel truth. We are called to be self-aware and attentive to the Spirit. We do not only do this as individuals, but collectively we are Christ's body, so we must be familiar with each other’s stories and where they align with gospel truth in order to encourage gospel intentionality within our community.
Everyone is listening to someone or something. The Gospel teaches us to listen to the right voices and to listen with internationality. Listen to what God is saying and where He is leading. Listen to how you speak to yourself to ensure that you see yourself through the Gospel. Listen to each other's stories and struggles and hopes and dreams, reminding one another of the Gospel. Listen to the culture and world around you so that your response to things of the world reflects the incarnational character of Jesus.
Gathering together to regularly celebrate life that we have been given in Jesus as a college ministry is a crucial rhythm as we learn to turn all we do into worship of God. We do this on Sunday mornings and during Missional Communities.
We might view the mundane process of eating differently if we allow meals to be seen through the lens of the gospel of God. The daily need for food is a blatant example of our constant reliance on grace as we do the good works God has prepared for us.
We should use this daily opportunity to speak and demonstrate the provision of God to others, both believers and unbelievers. Take people out to eat and speak the gospel into their lives. Bringing people alongside your repetitive events in life is a part of incorporating the gospel into the daily rhythms of your life.
As you do your daily work seek to empower and encourage those around you. As you uplift others, your works reflect God’s great love for them. Use these opportunities for encouragement to remind your friends of the truths of the gospel.
If we are trusting in the work of the grace of Jesus in our lives, then we can be at ease while we work and we can rest well when not at work. Whether at work or at play, we can engage peacefully because of the Gospel. Freed from the struggle to find significance or value in our work and given the freedom to take time to rest, we can proclaim that God is our Creator, Sustainer, Provider, and Redeemer.
Where do you need to re-imagine and re-define your life by the Gospel?
What rhythms in your life need to be re-purposed by the Gospel?