If we recognize the personal mission before us to make disciples, a reasonable follow up question to that mission is simply “HOW?” At Salem Chapel there are multiple “vehicles,” if you will, for discipleship: Sunday Morning Services, Salem Kids, Thrive Students, Life Groups, Restore and so on. So, if we have all of these, why do we need Abide Groups? How do they play a part in accomplishing the mission of the church? Let’s start with a definition first, Abide Groups are simply this:
Groups of 3-5 people that meet for a season to mutually encourage
one another to abide in Jesus.
At quick glance that probably sounds like it could be a description of several other things at Salem Chapel, and you’re right! That’s because there is a common thread of intentional discipleship in every ministry at our church. Two key differences with Abide Groups are flexibility and portability.
First, let’s address flexibility. All our other ministries happen at certain times and on certain days. Life Groups for example meet only on a few days a week at specific times in specific locations. If you have a certain schedule or situation that is opposite of the way Life Groups are structured, or you can’t get to where a Life Group meets, or you can’t figure out the childcare challenges…how can you be a part? You can’t unless your circumstances change. But maybe you don’t have control over those circumstances, then what? You need something else, something with a little more flexibility to take advantage of the gift of biblical community and discipleship, Abide Groups can provide this.
Second, what are we talking about when we say Abide Groups are portable? This simply means that it’s easy to get started and easy to reproduce results. There are many ways to obey Christ in making disciples, are you saying Abide Groups are the only way to do this? Nope, not at all. But we know a couple things: reading and obeying God’s Word and practicing prayer are always essential parts of growing in relationship as a disciple of Jesus and He works powerfully in us when we are regularly doing these things. Abide Groups are simply a framework and a context for helping you plan to do this regularly and with intentionality with others. Abide Groups are something you can start, do, and train others to do all within a relatively short time. That’s pretty portable. And if you follow this pattern for 3,5, 10+ years, how many disciples can be made this way? It’s staggering to think about it.
HOW DO I SIGN UP FOR AN ABIDE GROUP?
Abide Groups are formed through personal relationship and by invitation, there is no formal signup process. If you are interested in being in an Abide Group, simply find 2-4 other people you know who are interested in forming a group with you. Then, choose a timeframe that makes sense for your group. Finally, decide who will be the leader and have them read the content below about what it looks like to lead an Abide Group.