Vision - ENGAGE
In a world of uncertainty and upheaval, Jesus is THE Transformer, bringing about transformation to this world … one day at a time, one life at a time. How do we join him in his work in the world? We ENGAGE with people around us just like Jesus did through 5 simple missional practices: Begin with prayer, Listen to people, Eat with people, Serve in any way you can, and Share your story and God’s story. Imagine the impact if we all simply focused on one person, just like Jesus noted how a good shepherd leaves 99 sheep to go after one lost sheep (Matthew 18:12). This year, let’s FOCUS 1! As we do that, we will see over 10,000 stories of transformation by the end of 2016.

Vision – CONNECT
This mission God has given us is not to be done alone or in isolation. It is to be done in community - in connection with other people. Notice how Jesus went about transforming his world: Mark 3:13-15. Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. NIV

Jesus created a group of people to be ‘with him’. Notice the relational connection (a call to CONNECT). On this foundation, he ‘sent them out’ to proclaim good news and to influence society positively (a mission to ENGAGE). In doing so, Jesus was modelling what he wanted his church to BE. In fact, all of the metaphors of the church are relational and involve connection. The church is a family where every person a member, a flock with sheep following the shepherd together, a body with all the members joined together, an army of soldiers fighting side by side, and a building made up of living stones. Independence and isolation are dangerous. Church is not something you ‘go to’ (a building or event) but something you are ‘part of’.

The two best ways to CONNECT at CityLife are: being part of a Life Group or a Serving Team.

What’s the Big Deal about Small Groups?
Small groups (which we call Life Groups) are biblical; they are the only way to care for a large congregation; they are the best way to disciple people; they are the best way to develop leaders; and they the best way to grow a strong church.

Our Life Groups are not just a ‘program’. They are about people and relationships. They are beneficial to your life and are not the same as casual relationships. As we grow larger, we need to keep getting smaller.

How to Be a Great Life Group Member
1. Be committed to your group. Embrace the value of small groups. Understand that relationships (even difficult ones) are essential to personal growth (or transformation).
2. Be prepared to give something to your group.
3. Be attentive and prepared to minister to others.
4. Be open and vulnerable.
5. Build your life on the foundation of God’s love for you.

What’s the Big Deal about Serving?
Jesus came into the world and took upon himself the role of a servant, living a life focused on helping other people (Phil.2:5-11). Jesus then called his followers to be like him – servants. By love, we are all to serve one another (Gal.5:13). When this life is over we will stand before the Creator of the entire universe and we will be asked two basic questions: (1) “What did you do with Jesus Christ?” Your answer is a “salvation issue”, a matter of life and death, heaven and hell, and (2) “What did you do with your life (your time, resources and energy)?” Your answer to this question is a “stewardship issue”. God is looking for a return on his investment in our lives and we will be rewarded based on our fruitfulness. We know that God’s love for us is unconditional, based solely on his grace and his choosing. However, it pleases God very much when we use our gifts and abilities to serve other people in love. We are not judged by how much he has given us (compared to others) but by what we do with what we have been given. God sees and he rewards our efforts, no matter how insignificant they may seem to us (Mk.9:41. Heb.6:10).

You have been saved and called you for a special purpose (2 Tim.1:9). Your life purpose is multi-dimensional and is outworked in three primary areas: your family, your church and your world. Satan loves lukewarm, uninvolved Christians, as they are no threat to his work. Don’t be a spectator - get involved in a ministry. We need more ministers, not just more church members. You will grow, as will the ministry of the church. We grow through spiritual input, fellowship and ministry.

Our church has an incredible mission from God, one that will only be achieved as each person fulfils his or her own mission and contributes to the overall task. In fact, your personal mission finds its true significance as part of the church’s overall mission. Imagine a church where everyone became a servant, found their spiritual gift and started using it. What an impact we could make together!

Your Next Steps
1. Choose the mentality of a servant each day.
2. Get involved as a volunteer in a ministry within the church. Step out of the crowd and join God’s team. Begin serving, meeting a need and using your gifts for the benefit of others.
3. Keep developing yourself and your gifts (1 Cor.12 and Rom.12) in order to maximise your God-given potential.

Discussion Questions
1. Why do you think that Jesus’ call to CONNECT (relationships with other Christians) is such an important foundation for our call to ENGAGE (our mission) with our world?
2. Discuss the tendency in our Western culture towards individualism compared to the strong community focus of past generations. How is this impacting the church today?
3. Have members share what they enjoy most about their Life Group.
4. Have members share what they think would make their Life Group experience even better.
5. Brainstorm ideas for reaching out and including those people not already connected to Life Groups in our church.
6. Have members share what they enjoy most about serving in CityLife.
7. Have members share what they think would make their serving experience even better.
8. Brainstorm ideas for reaching out and including those people not already serving connected to a serving team in our church.
9. What are some ways to grow as a volunteer in a church ministry? Consider ideas such as: learning from others, receiving feedback and receiving ongoing training and taking on new challenges (more responsibility such as a team leader).

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