IBC’s small groups are growing! This post briefly outlines what we believe the Lord’s vision is for small groups at IBC, and brings you up-to-date with the latest developments. We believe everyone at IBC would benefit from being involved in a small group, because small groups are at the very heart of the Christian faith. God is a God of community. He resides in the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit together. We are created in the image of God. Therefore, we are created to live in community – and small groups are an excellent expression of community.
We define a small group as “a collection of people, between 3 and 12, that meets together regularly outside the normal church setting, to put their Christian faith into practice in ways that transform them to be more like Jesus, and impacts the world at large.”
Ways to put faith into practice in a small group setting are virtually unlimited: they include
- Practicing friendship
- Sharing joys and struggles
- Praying together
- Singing together
- Studying the Bible
- Encouraging each other
- Caring for each other.
Our vision also includes stretching the boundaries of small groups to prevent us from becoming too “inward looking”. This could involve community service such as Serve the City, which at least one homegroup is involved in. This vision is linked very closely with the recent emphasis at IBC to become more missional: to put the Great Commission into practice in our daily lives. In this respect all homegroup leaders are getting a book called “Missional Small Groups”. It’s full of great ideas that can help our small groups bring Jesus’ message of peace to a hurting world.
What are some examples of small groups that we already have? Homegroups, of course – but we are not only talking about homegroups. The Ladies Bible Study and WEBS split into small groups for discussion, sharing and prayer. The Wednesday morning Men’s Prayer Breakfast is an active small group, as is the Prayer Team. We would therefore like to encourage everyone to seriously think and pray about becoming a member of a small group in IBC.
Your first action might be to join a homegroup. Ask for a list of IBC’s current homegroups by filling in the form below. You’ll homegroups in Etterbeek (2), Waterloo, Hulshout, Antwerp and Wezembeek-Oppem, as well as these:
- The original Kortenberg homegroup has reached optimal size and will now be called the Everberg homegroup, led by Don. So if you live in Everberg, Sterrebeek, Moorsel, Leefdaal, Tervuren, Duisburg … this would be a great group for you to join. It meets on Wednesday evenings.
- Sorin is starting up a homegroup for people living in Leuven and the surroundings. It starts mid October; the exact time and location to be specified.
If there’s not a homegroup in your locality, then why not consider starting one? You will get the help and support, ideas and resources you need to get one off the ground. There’s a current need for another group in Brussels, and one in Overijse.
Another development that will benefit homegroups is that we are going to make more use of the Sunday sermon. It’s vital that we not only pay attention to our preacher’s message to us on a Sunday morning, but that we dig into it, discuss it and work out how to apply it to our lives. We are therefore moving towards having a list of 5 or 6 questions on the sermon, printed in the Sunday bulletin each week, which you could think about and then come to your homegroup to discuss.
Finally, this greater emphasis on small groups has implications on how we do church. We believe it will drive us more towards the New Testament model of church: with people meeting regularly in small groups throughout the week, and then coming together for corporate worship on Sunday as the pinnacle – the high point – of the week, as a collection of small groups that have been meeting, praying and worshiping together in the week.
To sum up, ultimately we are not looking simply to have more small groups, or more members attending our small groups. We want our small groups to help members to become more like Jesus, and to have an impact on the larger community.
If you would like information on any of the groups mentioned above, or if you have any questions or comments, simply complete the form below: