St Stephens Anglican Church Belmont

St Stephens Anglican Church Belmont

discipleship groups

Group Format

Meal

Sharing in food is fundamental to the format of each group, not an addition or form of refreshment at the end. The sharing of food may involve a simple afternoon tea or an evening meal. It is not the responsibility of the host to provide the food; this is done by all the members of the group, especially when it is an evening meal.

This is also important for those who are coming from work to the house group and are unable to provide something for the table, but it also may include some form of takeaway contribution. It also relieves the pressure of having to get home and have a meal before the group. So it is an act of care for the members of the group. It is not meant to add anything to what would normally happen.

It is my hope that an evening meal includes all the members of a family so no one is drawn away from family and all members of the family are included in the house group.

The sharing of food becomes the entry point for the content of discussion of the house group. It is natural in sharing a meal that conversations will take place and, if the group has established enough trust, then issues and concerns will be raised. So the group work takes place around the table.

Sharing a meal around a table is uniquely Christian. Richard Giles writes, ‘the startling feature of Christianity is that at its heart stands the table. This table symbolises the ministry and person of Jesus of Nazareth in more ways than can be chronicled. It stands of his outrageous table fellowship with social out-casts, his unconditional hospitality to the untouchables of this world, his heart-rending farewell meal with his friends, his breakfasts and suppers reunited with his followers as risen Lord, and the heavenly banquet promised to his followers.’ (Creating Uncommon Worship, p 62) 

There are numerous passages in Jesus’ ministry where he did his teaching over a table meal with friends, strangers and hostiles.


Discipleship Circle

It is during the conversations over the meal that someone will raise a significant event, discovery, or challenge taking place in their lives. Such moments are described as ‘kairos’ a biblical Greek word literally meaning ‘time’. There are two words meaning ‘time’ in the bible: kairos and chronos. Chronos means measurable time, what we can read off our clocks, the time of day, and the seasons of the year. Kairos as time means those times when God breaks in, God moments, God incidents, those incidents that are opportunities to hear what God is saying to us as an individual, a house group, or the society in which we live.  

Kairos leads us to re-evaluate what we believe about God, about ourselves and about our society.

When Jesus walked onto the ministry stage of his life, in Mark’s gospel account, he said, ‘Repent and believe, for the kingdom is at hand.’ (Mark 1:14-15) Jesus was then and is now the ultimate kairos, he is the moment that leads us into the kingdom, but his reality and presence calls us to repent and believe in order that this might happen.


Repent

Repent literally means to change your nerve, translated to mean change your heart and mind. It is an invitation to turn back to God. However, there is another aspect to repentance. In order to change our mind, we need to conceive that there are other options, other ways to think about God, ourselves and society. Repentance, therefore, also mean, and requires, a broadening, an opening, of the mind and heart. 

The process of repentance then involves:

Observing

  • what are the facts
  • what actually happened

Reflection

  • what did this mean to you
  • how has it affected you

Discuss

Here is where the house group rubber it’s the road and the essence of the house group as a discipleship group

  • what do others have to say
  • what does the bible have to say
  • what does God have to say (prayer)


Believe

Following on from this is the opportunity to find a new understanding. Believe literally means to trust—to trust in the knowledge that you have and, particularly, your knowledge about the nature and person of God revealed in Jesus Christ.

The process of believing involves:

Planning

  • what am I now going believe about God
  • what am I now going to do

Accountability

  • who is going to encourage me in this
  • who is going to challenge me to do it
  • who is going to check up on how I am going with it 


House groups take place at various times and location during the week and utilise a variety of media to produce kairos, the God breaking in moment. Please inquire about a group that best suits you.

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