New Hope believes that much of the Christian life becomes a reality as the church meets as authentic small group communities outside the “four walls” of traditional buildings. We call these small groups “LIFE Groups.” LIFE Groups meet throughout the week in people’s homes and are open to anyone interested in learning more about God and experiencing loving Christian community. They are at the core of New Hope’s vision and are an ideal avenue for you to plug in more deeply with our church and to grow in your relationship with God. L.I.F.E. is an acronym that stands for the four core values that we see evident in the early church as described in Acts 2:42:
L earning Biblical Truth
I ntercession (Prayer)
E xtending LIFE to Others
So, LIFE Groups are truly “more than a meeting.” In order to pursue these four core functions, LIFE Groups engage in a variety of activities together as a community and out in the city. So, if you are looking for a place to be known, celebrated, and challenged to become all you were created to be, then we suggest that you connect with a LIFE Group today!
How are LIFE Groups different than Bible studies or care groups?
The Dead Sea is a helpful illustration on this point. The Dead Sea is “dead and smelly” because it has lots of water pumping into it, but has no meaningful outlet. Thus, its “life” evaporates in the heat and no living thing can survive in its toxic waters for the long haul. We believe that the classic Bible study or care group model runs the risk of becoming toxic as well. We definitely value Bible study and caring for one another. However, if there is no meaningful “outlet” or common mission beyond the group, then we believe that the group will eventually become toxic. At that point, more Bible study and more caring simply add to the group’s toxicity. In other words, we want to avoid the “holy huddle” syndrome that plagues much of American Christianity. As a result, LIFE Groups seek to intentionally engage the non-believing world all around them.
Focusing on “Sending”
One of the main ways we seek to avoid the Dead Sea syndrome and maintain healthy Groups is by focusing on sending. LIFE Groups aim to welcome, equip, and send. We believe that “regular people” are called by God to do the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12) – encouraging and building up their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ as well as engaging the lost world around them with the love and Good News of Jesus. So, we want to help equip our people to be able to do this well within their spheres of relationships. Because of the transitional nature of our city, we see a strategic opportunity to impact the whole world by how we welcome, equip, and send those who are with us for only a short period of time. We want to help these folks engage more deeply with Jesus and gain a greater vision for how they can impact the world with the Gospel wherever they go. A more corporate expression of this vision is our desire to send out entire groups of people. We long for Groups to be able to grow in numbers by reaching people for Christ, developing and raising up its own leaders, and eventually be able to plant new Groups. This helps expose more people to the love of Christ and gives new leaders a chance to express their gifts.
How to Visit and Plug In to a LIFE Group
All our Groups are open to anyone, so if you are interested in visiting any of our LIFE Groups, you are very encouraged to do so! All our Groups have the same core vision, but of course have different flavors. So you’re encouraged to visit as many Groups as you’d like, as many times as you’d like before deciding which one you want to plug into.