Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Summer Fellowships

      Are you ready for summer fellowships in homes?  Are you looking for a place to build community?  Are you wanting to host a fellowship in your home?  Are you wanting to step into a leadership role?  Are there friends, neighbors or family that you would like to see connect with a community group?  I hope this summer you are able to experience community in a group.

     From the perspective of church, summer begins some time between Memorial Day and the last day of school for the children.  So by that criteria, summer is just a few days away.  This summer we are encouraging groups and individuals in our church to hold regular fellowships in the home.

    For Calvary, summer is the time for big events: mission trips, Vacation Bible School, Camp Zephyr (Students), Camp Tejas (Children), the Valley Project, the Fourth of July Community Tail Gate, etc, etc.  As most of our midweek ministries (EQUIP, ICC, WIT, Remedy and The Grove) take a recess, we focus on these big events.  For the last couple of years we have also provided occasional midweek church-wide fellowship opportunities (end-of-school year bash, praise and prayer services, potluck dinners, movies and swimming nights).  This summer we are convinced that what we need is fellowships in the homes.  In addition to our big summer events, we are encouraging fellowships outside of Sunday morning.

     What does that look like? 
     There are primarily two ways in which a home fellowship can take place.  One of them is for an Adult Bible Fellowship (ABF) which meets on Sunday to plan for home fellowships throughout the summer.  Another is for an individual or family who desire to start a new group to do so.  The frequency of these fellowships will be determined by the ABF, individual or family who leads it.  Some may choose to do it weekly, others bi-weekly and others monthly.  Contact Paulo Gatan, Pastor for Administration and ABFs and let him know of your plans so we can pray, support and celebrate what God is doing.

     What is the purpose of these fellowships? 
     The purpose is two-fold (1) to experience community as disciples like we have discussed in our "The Table" (#cbctable) sermon series; and (2) to invite friends, neighbors and family who might otherwise not participate in a Sunday morning ABF.  Hopefully some will come to trust Christ through this experience or will become more interested in the gospel.  We need more "Guests" at "The Table!"  In fact, some new ABFs may emerge from this effort.

     What formats are recommended?
     ABFs are free to use whatever format for fellowship that best suits the needs of the group.  As we talked about in the "Menu" part of the series we encourage fellowships to include food, prayer, Bible study, worship and caring for each other.  It is difficult to do all these extensively.  So one idea is to focus on one or two aspects that compliment what takes place Sunday morning.  We strongly suggest to ABFs that they consider doing an Alpha class at a home either in the summer or fall.  This will provide both an opportunity for fellowship and for sharing the gospel with neighbors, friends and family.  Once the Alpha course is completed the new people can be incorporated into the regular ABF or a new ABF may be launched from it.  Another options is for someone to start an Alpha in a home with a view to start an ABF or home group.  For those interested in doing so, our pastoral staff, including Pastor Paulo Gatan, will provide orientation, training and resources to do this successfully.  Simply contact one of the pastors if you want more information about this.

     We ask for a joint effort in prayer for this summer as ABFs, groups and others seek opportunities to build community and to share the love of Christ with others.  Without constant fervent prayer our efforts will be in vain.

     So, what are you waiting for: pray, talk to your group (or talk to your leader), and plan some fellowships in the homes this summer, and then keep praying!  I know my wife and I are going to start start a home fellowship this summer and we are excited about it!