Here at Saturate we don’t just create new resources, but we collect the best resources from across the Church. We hope all the resources we cultivate and curate serve to equip everyday people, leaders, and pastors to be disciples of Jesus who make more disciples in the everyday stuff of life. Here is an example of one such resource.
The following resource and story has been shared with Saturate by Jim Couchenour from Greenford Christian Church in Greenford, Ohio.
About three years ago my wife and I started attending Greenford Christian Church, located in rural Northeast Ohio. One of the first sermon series we heard was entitled “Chain Reaction” where Sean Kelly talked about the “sent” component of God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the disciples, and now us. He presented a path to do this at Greenford called Gospel-Centered Communities. These community groups build relationships with pre-Christians in a natural, life-giving way.
Through the next couple years, Sean and I became friends. I became Discipleship Minister at Greenford. After thirty years in the business world, I became part of an exciting opportunity to build relationships and bring Good News to people throughout the towns in our area.
One of the biggest obstacles to forming Gospel-Centered Communities (GCC) has been helping people “unlearn” previous group models and methods. GCCs are not small groups, and they’re not Bible studies, although they have elements of both. They are largely organic collections of medium-sized groups (ideally ten to thirty people, including kids) who seek God for a specific people group and/or a mission field. These communities take steps to engage with people wherever God directs them.
At Greenford, we have a two-prong approach to getting groups started. First, we ask potential leaders to take a five-session intensive training that moves through WHY/ WHAT/ HOW/ WHO/GO. These are face-to-face meetings where we can teach ideas and content, but they are mostly designed to figure out what these leaders need to become missionaries in their current life rhythms and patterns.
We also provide our GCC’s Kick Start Guide*. This twelve-week paint-by-numbers-type curriculum helps the members of a new core group learn and begin doing mission together. Through this process, we hope to move from the head to the heart to the hands where they experience engaging in mission slowly and deliberately. Toward the end of the twelve weeks, they develop their own group CODE and CONTEXT, which eventually leads to their CALLING.
We now have groups that range from cooking meals for neighbors to riding horses to doing crafts to serving their local school—all with the intention of watching what God does to help them engage at the right time with the right relationships. In addition to the Kick Start Guide, we created a companion website that has additional training materials and videos of other GCC leaders talking about their group experiences and learnings.
In our relatively short experience with GCCs (about three years), we’ve seen the need for the Kick Start Guide to help people understand the Biblical foundations of our “sentness” as believers. As they actually experience missional activities, they taste and see a gospel-centered life. Recently we’ve started collecting stories from these groups—stories of what God is doing through relationships and disciples’ willingness to follow Jesus in their unique and local mission field.
I was pulling into our driveway, and our neighbor (whom we’ve been pouring our love into) came rushing to my car. I’ve noticed he and his wife (she has pancreatic cancer) haven’t been home for about a week, and I’ve been worried. He told me she is in the hospital because her pain was so bad and the morphine just wasn’t working at home. Here’s the amazing part: This man grabbed my face, in front of my kids, and said, “I know I told you last time we talked that I’m atheist and I don’t believe in God, but I see a difference in you and Patrick. I now KNOW there is a God, and I know Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.”
* Thanks to Saturate and Jeff Vanderstelt for allowing us to use some of their content in the GCC “Kick Start Guide.”
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