A couple of years ago, our church followed a lead initiated by the Archbishop of Sydney and renamed our small bible study groups Growth Groups.
This was mainly done to emphasise the purpose of these groups. We do not meet together simply to study the bible, but to grow as people. A secondary motivation is to grow numerically as well, but it is mainly about personal growth.
Also, growth groups aren’t restricted to the traditional format of bible study groups either, although my group has retained that structure. A growth group is a group of usually 6-12 people who meet in a members lounge room. Often the group will pray, examine a book or topic in the bible and enjoy a coffee or snack together.
These groups allow the members to meet up and socialise outside of church. Often at a church meeting it is hard to catch up with more than a few of your acquaintances, let alone have an in depth discussion about problems you might be facing.
An important thing to remember is that a growth group isn’t always going to be about you. It is encouraging others in their Christian walk and letting them encourage you that makes us more effective as a community that is loving and in God’s image.
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbour for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
Growth groups are a very important way we progress in our Christian faith. We have had a rule in the band at church that any member who is not in a growth group cannot play in the band. This is a rule that can sometimes appear harsh but is often borne out in fact. If you are not seeking God in your daily life you seldom come to play at church with the correct motivation.
One thing growth groups can sometimes be is introspective rather than outreaching, routine rather than radical. Nonetheless they are an essential means of figuring out what you really believe and a very important step on the path to understanding God better.
I encourage any Christian who isn’t in a growth group to take up the challenge next year and get more involved. For your growth, for your friends’ and for the wider churchs’ as well.
2006 was an interesting year for music at Toongabbie Anglican Sunday Night Church (SNC). We started the year well, gaining a couple of new musicians and everyone had a pretty good level of enthusiasm. It was great to have Elise come on board as another quality singer and to get Ben and his trombone back. Later in the year Priscilla started playing flute with the band, which was the first time we’ve had a flautist playing at SNC since about 2002.
As the year went on the grind took it’s toll. Some of our musicians were unable to join us for extended periods due to work, study, health, holidays or even missing, broken and stolen instruments. And now we’ve reached the end of the year and we seem to haemorrhaging musicians from next years roster.
New songs we tried in 2006:
- How great is our God – Chris Tomlin
- Indescribable – Chris Tomlin
- Hallelujah to the King of kings – Mark Peterson
- The power of the cross – Stuart Townend/Keith Getty
- Christ alone – Garage Hymnal
- Near – Garage Hymnal
- Days of Elijah – Robin Mark
- Your grace is enough – Chris Tomlin
- Sovereign Hands – Hillsong United
- All over the world – Matt Redman
- King of glory – Chris Tomlin
Next year looks like being a difficult year for TAC. Our entire church staff is moving on, along with multiple musicians. I would like to thank everyone that was involved in music at SNC in 2006 for their hard work and effort. God definitely used us for his purposes this year and I pray that next year he will do the same, whomever ends up in the music team in 2007.
If there are any drummers, pianists or guitarists out there looking for a place to worship next year where they can study the Word of God and contribute to a growing community of God’s people, come check us out from 6pm on January 14.
In the meantime please be prayerful in your support of the beach missions taking place over the Christmas break, particularly for Hallidays Point and Harrington SUFM’s. Please pray for the gospel to be clearly proclaimed and that hearts will be opened to the Lord.
More mundane stuff to blog about. Due to some recent personnel changes in my department at work, I now have a laptop & iburst card to use working remotely. The computer, a HP nx6120, is a 15″ model that rather conveniently can also use the power supply of the Compaq I bought 7 months ago. But I wasn’t provided with a means to transport it from work to home.
The guys at work advised me to get a backpack style bag as it means you only need to carry one bag for your PC, lunch, jumper etc. instead of the laptop satchel and a second backpack. So I went on a search. My workmate has a Targus Rakgear Slam which he recommends.
But I discovered a company called STM who seem to have a good philosophy and reputation and are based here in Sydney. They have a new model out this week called the Evolution which appealed to me and so after a bit of a search is now travelling with me to work everyday.
It has lots of cool features, is made of good materials and is probably the best piece of luggage I have ever bought. When people are talking about cars they speak of a “surprise and delight” factor as you discover cool new features that weren’t in the brochure but make life easier. I think this bag will be providing me with such a feeling for some time.