New City Church is on a mission to make disciples, equip the church, and renew the city. God has made us a family of servant missionaries through faith in Jesus. And that is why we have a vision to launch City Groups throughout our region, to help us to live out our God-given identity.
It is vital that a City Group functions as a family. And just as every family on earth is unique, each City Group will take on the uniqueness of its members while carrying the common and uniting vision of New City Church. Whether the group meets once a week or once a month it is essential that meals, fun outings, cookouts, or some form of informal gathering be a regular part of our journey together. Spending time laughing, eating, and enjoying each others company as a family will create a bond between the group that few other things can. As a family we will endure trials together and discover our weaknesses as well as strengths and gifts. The lives of married people, singles, students, parents and grandparents will be seen in raw form and we will be better for it. As life on life happens the group will learn to pray for each other, comfort, encourage and even rebuke sin with far less hypocrisy. Because God is our Heavenly Father we are no longer orphans, but sons and daughters through Christ, and brothers and sisters. City Groups help us to live as such.
Jesus came as the ultimate Servant. He went to the cross in our place and took our sins upon His shoulders. Through faith in Him we are no longer slaves to our sin, but to righteousness. We are free to live for His glory, not only as individuals, but as a family. A City Group is committed to becoming better servants as we grow in the Word, prayer and accountability. Each group’s emphasis will depend on the season and specific missional focus of each group. One season might call for a focus on prayer and fasting as they prepare for missions in the park or to the local schools. Another season might bring the group through deeper study in the Bible in order to grow or be challenged in an area of recognized need, like marriage, missions, justice or forgiveness. It can fluctuate, and that’s the beauty of it.
God is a missionary God and His Word is calling us to action, to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. We are called to be a blessing, and to live as salt and light for this earth. That is why City Groups exist, to glorify God by letting our lights shine in our city. We all have neighbors who need Jesus. Schools, teachers, city officials, housing developments and recreation facilities are places to be a blessing in Jesus’ name. City Groups gather, not just to grow as a family, but to go as a family; to be on mission in our city.
The mission of a City Group should be both proactive and reactive. For example, if a members neighbor just lost their home to a fire, a City Group can spend a couple weeks praying for the family and gathering practical items to serve and love them. It may be beneficial to help with clean up, do a yard sale or fundraiser for the family, or pitch in as a City Group and make meals to lighten the load. For that period, that becomes the mission.
A City Groups needs to be in regular prayer over the city and its people, deciding where to actively serve and bless. It could be cleaning a school playground once a month, helping at the soup kitchen, tutoring children through the school year or building an ongoing relationship with the local PD. Every place a City Group chooses to adopt as its mission is an opportunity to see the hurting, hear the broken, to love and offer hope and call the lost to salvation in Jesus.
Launching City Groups means so much more than gathering people. Leadership development, church-plant launch teams, pastoral and missionary training is all part of our big picture vision for City Groups. The simple structure is easily duplicated so that new and young leaders have a place to get their feet wet in teaching Bible studies, leading prayer meetings and leading small missions teams.
Our first official City Group launches this Fall. We hope to raise up the leadership to multiply to two groups within the first year and eventually come to see dozens of dynamic City Groups throughout the city of Bath and the Midcoast, being a blessing to our city and seeing souls won for Christ.