I have become convinced that the most biblical (and effective) way to understand Christian discipleship is to view it as process-oriented. The Christian life is experienced in a way where we grow in our likeness of Christ by the work of the Spirit progressively, as we continue in the faith. Our relationship with God and followership of Jesus does not jump to teleos (i.e., completion) the minute we say “yes” to salvation.
This is to say that salvation has both past, present, and future dimensions… and to focus on one aspect while ignoring the others is to not consider the “whole council of God.” Redemtion most certainly gives us immediate assurance as we can most certainly celebrate being Justified by our faith in Christ! Yet redemption is also in progress because we don’t yet fully realize our victory over sin completely or our victory over death completely. No, we look forward to consummation!
And this leads us to consider our fifth biblical foundation for small groups:
“If the broken human community chooses to accept God’s gracious and personal embrace of restored divine-human community, God works at the redemptive process of restoring and completing the human community by re-interjecting divine community in the midst of human community. The return intervention of divine community into the human dilemma is covenantal. God calls humanity to return to its ontological moorings and prosper through intimate relationship with divine community. As humanity is willing to respond to this gracious invitation to reinvest in the presence of God, humanity takes on a redemptive form of family with God in their midst. The microcosm of this covenantal redeemed family is a small group around whom the larger covenantal community is called into existence.” (Biblical Foundations for Small Group Ministry: An Integrative Approach)
Your participation in a small group actually can help you step that much closer to experiencing the redemption that we all long for!
Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.