by Joel Comiskey
Celyce and I visited a Life group last night that tasted like heaven (I’m writing here in Thailand as Celyce and I help ECB- Evangelical Church of Bangkok-become more cell based).
I was tired and still struggling from jet lag at 8 p.m. But as I looked into the eyes of people from 10 different nations, I was invigorated.
The Welcome time was simple. Each person gave an introduction. One person from Myanmar, another from Indonesia, two from South Africa, one from Japan, three from Kenya, one from Pakistan, one from India, and yes, we were there as well, the token “gringos.” We entered into Worship. Charles, the broad smiling Kenyan, told us about how we got the hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” We sang it along with other worship choruses. Everyone had a song-sheet. We offered praise and prayer together.
David, the South African, led the Word time. The lesson was based on the sermon I preached the previous Sunday called “Living the Light of Eternity” (1 Peter 4:7-11). David wasn’t bound to the questions. Rather, he keyed off of people’s comments. “So what does it mean for you that the end of all things is near?” “How are you using your spiritual gift in the light of his coming?” Peoples’ responses triggered additional application questions. David didn’t talk about my sermon but the biblical text. He looked at those who had not participated, and most had something to say. People felt liberty to share struggles. I was very impressed with the application of God’s Word and the diverse comments. We went away truly “edified.”
Then for the Witness time we separated into a men’s group and women’s group. The asylum seeker from Pakistan shared how God was giving him visions and dreams. The group shared how privileged they were to care for him and stand up for him in the detention center. We prayed for needs and those who needed Jesus.
Yes, I was tired when I went home, but very fulfilled. The Life group had given me new vigor and excitement. The Welcome helped me to know the people personally. The Worship guided our focus to the throne of God. The Word time helped us to apply God’s Word. And the Witness time sent us forth refreshed and encouraged.
I’m not bound to a particular order, like the 4WS. Rather, the purpose of the Life group is to make disciples who make disciples. However, having a particular order can enhance participation and keep the group flowing and growing together to await Christ’s coming.