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Do groups really matter?

As a pastor in the Groups Ministry, my job often involves convincing people that groups are essential.  And convincing leaders that groups are worth giving their lives for, while waiting for Christ’s return.

But.  Do I believe groups matter?

As a closet-introvert, I prefer solace.  Selfishly, I would never choose to be in a group of people and freely give of myself.  This is obviously not a healthy perspective, but honesty is seldom a healthy dose of reality.  However, my group seems to want to know who I really am and be known in return.

For that, I am grateful.

Without them, an xBox, golf clubs, and a MacBook would be my platonic friends.  An xBox cannot challenge me to become a better husband (a better Jedi perhaps).  Golf clubs do not answer my phone call at 11pm when I must push a car onto a trailer (in the middle of no where).  And a MacBook never needs my encouragement during a difficult time.

Without a group, I could continue practicing my selfish ways uninhibited.  I could shield this practice with smoke screens like, “I’m too busy” or  “I had a bad experience” or “I can study the bible on my own.”  All of which are true for me.

I missed group last night because I was working late.  To my surprise, when I finally did arrive home (~10pm) cars littered my driveway and cul de sac.  My group was still at my house.  Waiting on me.  You know what?  After 3 years together, I would have done the same thing.

What’s happening to me?

Group, community, sharing life, or whatever you want to call it, has changed me.  Without my knowledge and without my permission, others’ needs have become more important than my own.  Their pain, is now my pain. And their victories are mine to celebrate.  And I would wager (were wagering allowed within the unspoken, yet well-codified rules of things pastors are not supposed to do) that I am not the only one.

Have groups (small, cell, life, interest, or on-line) actually made a difference in your life?  Are groups worth the trouble? time? transparency?

If no, why not?  If so, why?  One random commenter will receive a $10 gift card of their choice.

6 billion people.  6 billion stories.  This is just one of those stories.  People.  Life is better together.

Online Church: Now on iPhone

apple-iphone-icampus

Yesterday Faith Promise added a new feature to our Internet Campus.  Now, in addition to streaming worship services online at 10:00 & 11:45 am in regular and sign language format, you can now access the video stream on your iPhone or iPod Touch.

If you’re interested, here are some screen captures of the service.

Worship for the Deaf Community

Beginning August 9th, Faith Promise church will add a new video stream to our Internet Campus and will feature American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation as a part of the online interactive experience.

Watch the video announcement below:

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/5659929[/vimeo]

You can find more information here.