Yes, Mars Hill is a large church with thousands attending services each Sunday. But church is more than a service. It’s people living life together and helping one another throughout our cities to serve our cities. Each week, thousands of people meet in hundreds of small communities to learn about God, pray, eat, laugh, and live.
We call these Community Groups—and they’re the heart of our church. And they’re the way we grow smaller and the only way to not get lost in the crowd.
Central to our Community Groups are three ideas: Image, Body, & Ownership.
We are all made in the image of God, and part of that image is community. Through the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, that God is one God who exists eternally as three persons in eternal, perfect community, we understand that humans not only long for but are also made for community to reflect the image of the Triune God.
Much of the loneliness, pain, and fragmentation we feel in life are a result of sin marring our image of God and putting a wedge between community and relationships as God designed them. Community Groups at Mars Hill seek to redeem community by making ways to meaningfully connect with other Christians.
For more in being made in the image of God, check out the sermon “Image: God Loves”
In the Bible, the church is spoken of as a body often. This imagery points to the reality that we are all interconnected and depend on one another in life—much like a body relies on all its parts to function well.
This is very different from the way most people view church—which is generally an event you attend on Sundays to be checked off the calendar. At Mars Hill, we believe that while Sundays are important, the church is not a service but the people who come together to worship on Sundays and then live life throughout the week at home, work, and society.
As the church, Christians are to take the primary role in serving each other and their cities, helping each other grow to be more like Jesus, and caring for the hurting and injured members of the body, as well as sharing the good news of Jesus.
In a large church like ours, Community Groups are the best and primary way in which we do this.
For more on the church as a body, check out the sermon “One Body, Many Parts”
As the church, it’s the duty and responsibility of Christians to not rely on a handful of pastors and paid staff to fulfill the church’s calling to make disciples. Rather, we believe it’s important for all Christians to take ownership of their role in the church’s calling by participating in making disciples and growing as disciples.
Community Groups are active groups. More than just a Bible study or a prayer group—though those are elements—members take the initiative to challenge our inclination to apathy by actively caring for one another, building friendships with one another, participating in serving the city through various charities and outreaches, and learning more about the Bible and Jesus together.
This moves the traditional dynamic of church as one of attendance to one of participation. And this leads to real and lasting change both personally and in our families, communities, and cities.
For more on ownership, check out “Church: God Sends”
If you’re looking to get more connected at Mars Hill, Community Groups are the way to do it. And while it’s always scary to meet new people and be a stranger, we promise you won’t be a stranger for long.
To find a Community Group, contact your local Mars Hill church.
Click here for training materials for Community Group leaders and apprentices.