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WHAT HAPPENS ON SUNDAY THE ORCHARD COMMUNITY WELCOME

Follow Together for Lent!Follow TOGETHER - Lent Small groups

Copies of the Lenten Guide, information and sign-ups for group participation will be available on the patio this Sunday, or in the church office during the week. If you are already in a group or class, please continue with it—these groups are for people looking for ways to connect with the Body of Christ at Orchard and to FOLLOW TOGETHER as we study the FOLLOW ME Lenten Devotional Guide.

We would LOVE to add additional groups!!! Please contact Paul or Yvon Prehn, 805-218-4858, yvonprehn@gmail.com or paulprehn@gmail.com if you are interested. You don’t have to DO any more than open your home—all the material is provided in the Study Guide.

SUNDAY MORNING SMALL GROUPS

The following groups will be participating the Lenten “FOLLOW ME” study and are open for all to join. Begins Feb. 14th

9 am, Parent’s Small Group
Meets in Room 6, Hosted by Shaun Strople

9 am, Men’s Group
Meets in the Farmhouse, Hosted by Gabe Gonzales

10:30 am, Lenten Small Group
Open to everyone. Meets in the Youth Building, Hosted by Yvon Prehn

DURING THE WEEK

Monday Night – (1st, 3rd, 5th Mondays, Begins Feb. 15)
7-8:30 pm, meets at 914 Utica Ave, Ventura, CA 93004
Host: Judy Alexandre, 805-647-1170, judyalexandre@gmail.com
Note: Group has been studying Tremper Longman’s book, OT Essentials and will most likely resume that after Lent.

Tuesday Morning – (Begins Feb. 16)
10 am in the Library at Orchard Community Church
Hosted by Pastor Matt

Wednesday Night – (Begins Feb. 17)
7:00 pm, meets at 826 Montgomery Ave. Ventura, CA 93004
Host: Frank and Betty Whitney, 647-3396, fbwhitney@att.net
Note: New Group, all adults invited to attend

Why Join a Small Group?

Life is too busy, too full, too much…….

As we look towards Lent and our series Follow Me, we are encouraging everyone in the church to Follow Together! To do that, we’d like everyone to join a small group during this time. If you are in a group, great! If not, consider joining one for this time—with no long-term commitment required.

We’ll start signing people up for small groups on January 31 when we give out the Lenten Guides.  If you’d like to host a group, please contact Paul Prehn, paulprehn@gmail.com. No experience is required. Coaching provided and all materials you need, you’ll have.

Here are 8 great reasons!

1. You will be a New Testament Christian!

The book of Acts and many of Paul’s letters are very clear about how God intends for his people to grow and have their needs met in the church. We will   never be able to hire enough professional pastors to meet all the individual needs in our church family. And God never intended it to be that way! We learn to minister to each other as we meet in homes and in small   groups.

Some verses that illustrate this:

Acts 2:42, 46-47  They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellow- ship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Every day they continued to meet together. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Acts 5:42  Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.

1 Corinthians 16:19  The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house.

Colossians 4:15 Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.

2. You will deepen your understanding of worship.

Many believers mistakenly believe that worship can only happen on Sunday morning in a large group with a sermon and a choir. Worship happens anytime we focus on God. Worship is to be a way we live, not just something we do one day a week. In a small group as we study God’s Word, our minds are transformed and we can offer our lives in worship to God, as this verse encourages us to do.

Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.

3. You will understand the Bible better in a small group.

If you’ve ever listened to a Bible teacher or preacher and wanted to stop that person and say, “but what about…?” or “I don’t understand,” then a small group is for you!

Preaching and teaching is one-way communication. You listen while the speaker speaks. It’s fine for imparting knowledge but not as effective for personal application. In a small group setting, you can ask questions, participate in a discussion of the text, and hear others share insights and illustrations of the truth you are trying to grasp. The Bible must be applied to your own personal situations and that happens best in a small group.

4. Prayer will become more meaningful to you.

Many people are hesitant to pray in front of others especially in a large group. In a small group, you learn to pray by having a conversation with God. No one is pressured to pray, but as you get to know the people in your small group, you’ll become more comfort­able and confident. There are many promises in the Bible related to group prayer.

Another benefit is that as you pray together for each other, you will see God answer prayers in people’s lives. You will find your faith strengthened as you see this and you’ll draw closer to each other as you share your mutual prayer requests.

5. You’ll have a way to handle the hard times in life better.

Life on this earth will always be difficult. Jesus promised us, “In the world you will have troubles. (John 16:33) Christians aren’t free from problems, but Christians have a way to go through them that becomes a witness to the world around us. Small groups help by providing excellent support in times of crisis, change and stress. This is where our faith has an opportunity to become real as we walk together through the hard times in life. No matter what difficulty you go through, you’ll have a sense of stability and security knowing there are people who really care for you and who are committed to going through the difficult times with you.

This is not something that is developed overnight. You develop this kind of caring and sharing over time as you create relationships in small groups, and as you learn God’s expectations of how we are to care for each other.

6. You really begin to feel like you are part of God’s family.

Most people who have been a part of a group say the greatest benefit is the close relationships and friendships that develop. They will frequently contact each other during the week to share an urgent prayer request or an exciting answer. You’ll discover that your needs and problems are not unique – that we’re all in the same boat learning the same lessons. It helps to know that others are facing the same difficulties, have lived through them, and learned spiritual principles in the process.

Over fifty times in the New Testament, the phrase “One another” is used to describe our relationship to other believers. We are instructed to love one another, encourage one another, pray for one another, accept one another, bear one another’s burdens, and build up one another. The only way you can obey these commands is in a small group! We really do need each other. God never meant for you to go at it alone in the Christian life. If you’re lonely, the answer to your problem is to join a group.

7. You will have a natural way to share Christ with friends, relatives, and work associates.

It might be that some of your friends who don’t know the Lord wouldn’t be caught dead in a church. They have a preconceived idea and just the thought of church makes them defensive. But those same people may be open to an invitation to a casual bible discussion in a home or office setting.

In a small group, your pre-Christian friend can ask questions and express honest doubts without feeling “put on the spot.” When your friend sees the love and warmth and honesty of your group, it will make them more receptive to the Good News.

8. You will discover and practice your spiritual gifts and talents.

The Bible teaches that every believer is given certain talents or gifts to benefit others in the family of God. Unfortunately, most Christians never discover them because they are primarily Sunday morning spectators all of their lives. They never get a chance to try out their gifts because they are just like a sponge that keeps getting full of water and is never used.

In a small group setting, you might learn you are the one who likes to organize the group schedule and meetings. Or maybe you are the one always inviting people, or coordinating parties or maybe you find you are able to share the gospel message more comfortably than you ever imagined. Small groups give you a chance to practice and get feedback in a caring supportive way that will give you the confidence to grow in whatever talents and gifts God has given you to benefit the entire church body.

This was adapted from SaddleBack Church booklet on Small Groups