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Joined Together in God's Work

Posted by Alix P. on

There is beauty in learning to share our lives with others as believers, embodying the picture in Hebrews 10:

“Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

The Goer Life Group (GLG) is a life group at New Life that seeks to live out this verse in purposeful ways, specifically in the context of training for those within the body who believe God is leading them to go to the nations in the next few years. As a part of last year’s GLG, I was able to experience first-hand the value of receiving training in discipleship and spiritual disciplines before moving overseas. 

A snapshot of a week in the life of the Goer Life Group includes a commitment to four-hour “half-time” large group meeting, three hours of time with Jesus, two hours with lost people, and one hour praying with community members. The heart behind the GLG is to live as they would as a missionary team overseas: living in close proximity, meeting often, and reaching out to the same people together. Because of this desire, people who go through the GLG move into an apartment complex together. The idea is to live within “sock distance” of each other – living close enough to walk over in your socks for daily life (i.e. borrowing sugar) or ministry (i.e. praying in the early mornings) activities.

The high commitment of the training of the GLG underlines the necessity of living in obedience within community. New Life member David, who went through last year’s GLG, described the importance of accountability for effectual evangelism: “I need a team. It doesn't matter how much I know or how much evangelism I have done in the past; I need people around me pushing me, and vice versa. Living together made that possible and much more accessible.”

One focus of the Goer Life Group is allowing the members to engage in curriculum that will prepare future cross-cultural workers for the realities of the field. This material revolves around the emphasis of abiding in Christ and allowing ministry to be from an overflow. It also covers concepts like church planting movements, support raising, spiritual warfare, contextualization, and more.

Another skill the GLG seeks to equip its goers with is learning what it looks like to intentionally make disciples here and now. It can be tempting to think that disciple-making will be easier to do once you move overseas, but if you are not engaging in disciple-making here, you will likely find it more difficult to do overseas in a new cultural context.

Praying persistently over lost friends in the community and reaching out to them is a foundational part of the life group. Over the last year, members of the GLG interceded regularly for people they were ministering to, including some people living in the apartment complex. One of those people was Felicity*, an international student who was eager to study the Bible with believers. Felicity eventually chose to follow Jesus and was baptized in a pool at the apartment complex – and the whole GLG was able to rejoice in watching the Lord lead her from walking in darkness to obtaining new life.

Jesus declared that if anyone would follow Him, that person must “deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:24-25). Obedience to Jesus is often costly to us in our comforts and our free time. Walking through the good and the trying times with other believers is vital to successfully challenge natural desires for easiness and securities. You get to struggle together in choosing to die to self, but you also are able to witness the supernatural increase in joy and yearning for the things of God.

The most beautiful part is that God, though He does not need us, invites us into the astonishing work that He is doing. Haden, member of New Life and a part of last year’s GLG, shared how “when we come together as a community to pray often and hold each other accountable in disciple-making, we are joining together in the work God is doing right where we are at.”

Likewise, David shares that “God equipped me through the Goer Life Group first and foremost by deepening my trust that He is a sovereign God who is just, patient, and loving toward all people. God also used our Life Group to create healthier rhythms of praying for the lost, spending time with nonbelieving friends, and spending time with community.”

For me, being a part of the Goer Life Group has changed the way I live my day-to-day life. I have been able to experience the deep delight that comes from pushing through the desires of my flesh for a life of comfort and choosing instead to pursue the things that God is passionate about. This is a daily choice, and it is not something that is possible apart from other believers spurring you on to love and good works. There is a great purpose behind Jesus’s command to make disciples of all nations: bringing light to a lost world and discovering life that is tenfold anything that you may give up.

It is encouraging to realize that these habits are not just for people who desire to move overseas, but for all followers of Christ. There is much joy to be found from purposeful and sacrificial prayer, seeking the lost with other believers, and allowing yourself to live in vulnerable (and at times, uncomfortable!) accountability - and the depth of joy will overshadow any cost. As a result of joining in this work, you experience more of Jesus, the greatest treasure and delight of our souls.

* - Names changed for privacy