What exactly is a Discipleship Community?
Discipleship Communities are small groups of people from Emergence who gather together to pursue Jesus, and they are the central core to who we are as Emergence Church. A Community is typically made up of 6-12 people who regularly gather to discuss and apply the biblical truths we're studying together as a church.
Why should I join one?
Because discipleship happens best in community!
The bible tells us that our primary purpose as Jesus' church is to make disciples (Matt. 28: 18-20) - it's why the Church exists! But a church is more than a building or a weekend worship service...it's the people of God, walking in discipleship with one another toward Jesus and carrying His Gospel into each and every area of their lives!
As Jesus' church, we gather on Sundays to worship Him and hear the proclamation of God's Word, but walking as a disciple of Jesus is lifelong and ongoing - it doesn't just "happen" on Sundays because we attended a service. If we truly want to be a disciple of Christ, we must apply the truths of the bible to every area of our lives on an ongoing, daily basis. And, if we're ever going to be effective for the sake of Jesus' Gospel, we'll need a community of other believers to encourage us, pray for us, challenge us, and hold us accountable to the truth of God's Word!
What kind of Discipleship Communities are there?
Currently, there are 3 different types of Discipleship Communities you can sign up for at Emergence:
- Starting Point
The vast majority of Discipleship Communities at Emergence are Sermon-Based, providing an ongoing, organic discipleship environment for anyone and everyone to attend. Starting Point is a great first step for folks who are simply asking questions about Jesus, and Essentials is ideal for folks hoping to ground themselves in the fundamental rhythms of a disciple. For more information, check out our Discipleship at Emergence page.
What should I expect when I show up for the first time?
A good conversation! Almost all of our available Communities are sermon-based, meaning that the only requirement for you to attend is to listen to that week's sermon and look over the passage we're studying together as a church. You'll talk about the central truths offered to us from the bible, as well discuss what it really looks like to apply them to our lives. You don't need to be a bible scholar to attend a Community...as a matter of fact, you really don't even need to be a Christian! Regardless of where you're at in your walk with Christ, a Community is a safe place for you to come as you are and ask questions about what the bible says about who Jesus is.
Where do they meet?
Most Communities meet in someone's home, others at coffee houses, parks, libraries, or other public places. Regardless of where they meet, the central purpose is always the same: walk in discipleship with others toward Christ.
How often do they meet?
There are three official Communities Seasons throughout the year in Fall, Winter and Spring, where each Community will regularly meet for 10 weeks:
Discipleship Communities meet in three seasons throughout the year, each for a period of 8-10 weeks:
• Fall Season: October - Mid December
• Winter Season: January - Mid March
• Spring Season: After Easter for 8-10 weeks
Most Communities will formally gather once per week to have a great discussion, pray for one another, and encourage one another forward in their walk with Jesus. However, it is not uncommon to see the people who make up a single Community to begin walking with one another in their daily lives.
Usually a Community will begin with a simple formal gathering, before eventually spilling over into more frequent communication, meals, prayer gatherings, service projects, and various other rhythms of life. We've seen men and women of all ages walk into Communities as strangers for the first time, only to walk away new and deeper relationships with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
What do I do about childcare?
Many Communities at Emergence welcome children. In some Communities, everyone is asked to pitch in a nominal fee to help pay for a caretaker, while other groups either welcome the presence of children, or rotate participants within the group to care for the kids one week.
What if I don't like the Community I'm a part of? Do I have to commit long term?
Nope. Our Sermon-Based Communities meet in seasons - each no longer than 10 weeks. If you find that the particular Community you're a part of isn't the best fit for you, you are welcome and encouraged to try another one at the end of the season! Our Community leaders understand that sometimes it takes a couple tries to find the right fit, and you shouldn't feel awkward if you decide that a particular group isn't the best fit for you.
Can I attend more than one Community?
Absolutely! While you should never commit yourself to more than you can realistically handle, it is not uncommon for people to be involved in more than one Community. Most often we find that people walk regularly in a Sermon-based Community while also participating in another type of Community, whether that's Starting Point, Essentials, I.D. or even Redemption & Recovery.
Are Discipleship Communities the same as a Bible-Study?
Yes and no. You'll definitely study the bible with your group, but Communities have been specifcally designed for us to not just simply hear God’s Word, but to also apply it to our lives. Regardless of which Discipleship Community you're a part of, you'll be opening up the bible to study God's Word, but the primary purpose of meeting together is to grow in discipleship, not just in knowledge.
What if I still have questions?
Just Ask! We’d love to answer any questions you may have about Communities at Emergence. Feel free to swing by the Connect Desk at the end of a service, call us at (973) 826-7700 or drop us a line at Communities@emergencenj.org.
Ask for Alex Houser when you call. He's our Director for Discipleship at Emergence, and he would be happy to answer any questions you have!