Dallas Willard, in his book The Spirit of the Disciplines, famously wrote that Christianity is at least as difficult as riding a bike, that is, it takes practice. Over the course of the Church’s 2000 year history, certain practices have developed which have stood the test of time and have been shown to be a way that the Spirit of God uses to form the image of Christ in us. One of these practices is that of meeting in small groups. The book of Acts repeatedly records Christians meeting together for prayer, study, fellowship, and worship. Hebrew 10:25 exhorts us to not give up meeting together for encouragement and strengthening of our faith. In various times and places, the gathering of smaller groups of Christians in homes, churches, and monasteries have proven vital to the renewing and deepening of individual faith and for the building up of the church.
The Purpose of Spirit Groups at Holy Spirit
At Holy Spirit Anglican Church we have continued this practice in our Spirit Groups. The purpose of these groups is to facilitate stronger relationships between each other in the church, to grow in the knowledge and love of God through study, and to pray with and for one another. Our goal is that through participation in these groups, our members are better prepared for worshipping together on Sunday, and that the Sunday worship service equips and prepares you for participation in the groups.
The Format of Spirit Groups at Holy Spirit
The format of our groups is a little different than other churches. Our groups meet for set terms, which in many cases is about 10 weeks per term. Our groups are led by lay people who have been gifted in such leadership and trained by the staff. Each of our groups is also hosted in a home by another member of the congregation.
Each night, the groups get together for 1.5-2 hours, beginning with a liturgical prayer which connects us to the Sunday liturgy, and then going into a study. After the discussion, the groups then pray for one another and say the Lord’s Prayer together. All of this is designed to build us up together in the faith that has been given us by God.