This is the final part of a six-part series on the core community practices that best serve community groups. Read part one, part two, part three, part four, and part five.
In this series, we’re looking at six essential practices for a life-giving small group: remembering, listening, blessing, celebrating, mourning, and, finally, resting.
The group that rests together grows together.
Did you know you have total freedom to rest in community? In fact, we want you to rest! Resting is an essential practice of Christian community.
Our culture is driven by performance. We identify ourselves by our work, our productivity, our networks, and our accomplishments. You cannot rest easy when it all depends on you. “Work harder! Push through! You can rest when you’re dead!” Our world is distracted by a thousand voices.
What about us? If anyone should embrace rest, it’s us. We have nothing to prove and no one to impress. We have our identities secure in Christ. We have a place to belong.
In our community groups, therefore, we can practice rest in a way that restores our souls, orders our lives, and demonstrates our different set of priorities to the world.
Imagine what it would look like for your small group to take a four-week break from your regular study and discussion time, simply to do one or more of the following:
- Eat a huge meal together.
- Play wiffle ball out back with your kids.
- Watch a movie together as a group.
- Spend a whole evening on the back porch relaxing and eating watermelon.
- Go to a live concert and invite some neighbors.
How might this freedom encourage your members and build their relationships?
God invites his people to slow down, find rest in deep relationship together, and embrace sustainable rhythms of rest along with discussion, prayer, and planned events. Group members, you can bless your group hosts by offering to host the group for a few weeks.
At a bare minimum, practice resting at least once every seven weeks together. Do nothing significant; just enjoy the company!
What are some ways you can rest together? What would a life-giving rhythm of rest look like for your particular group?
Jeremy Linneman is pastor of community life at Sojourn Community Church, a diverse family of four interdependent congregations in Louisville, Kentucky. A graduate of the University of Missouri and Southern Seminary, he is the founder/director of Fidelity Coaching, a leadership development group, and an occasional writer for The Gospel Coalition and other sites. He and his wife, Jessie, have three sons.
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