The best way to get connected is to become part of a discipleship group. When we gather in this way it gives us the opportunity to study God's Word together, live in community together, pray together, and intentionally live out God's mission together.
Or contact us by email or phone (602-482-8140) for help getting connected in a group.
Jesus’ mission is the same for every church everywhere, but the way that mission is accomplished will be unique, since each church is unique. Our ultimate purpose for now and eternity is to glorify God, and Jesus commands us through Scripture to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). Therefore, our mission as a church is to glorify God by making disciples. Discipleship Groups are the primary way we accomplish disciple-making across the board and on an ongoing basis at Northern Hills Community Church.
Since our Discipleship Groups play this core role in our mission, it is important that they are distinctive and consistent. This means that a group of believers from our church regularly gathering for fellowship, food and spiritual discussion (or other combination of activities) does not necessary qualify as a Discipleship Group. Discipleship Groups are led by trained, approved leaders, are accountable to the leadership of Northern Hills, and are intentionally implementing the following four values:
1. Studying Scripture (Matthew 28:20; Acts 2:42)
2. Living in community (Acts 2:42-47)
3. Prayer (Acts 2:42)
4. Living on mission (Matthew 28:19; Act 2:47)
These values come from two main passages of Scripture:
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47)
“…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching…”
Jesus’ commands and the apostles’ teaching are both referring to God’s Word. The Bible is the starting point and foundation for everything we do as disciples of Jesus. Scripture is the only way we will grow, the only way we will increase our understanding and belief in the gospel, and the only way that we are transformed. Every issue in our lives ultimately comes down to an area of disbelief. And the Bible gives us the only way for our faith to increase and for true growth in Christ to take place. Romans 10:17 says, “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Finally, Jesus’ command in Matthew 28 clearly goes beyond just knowing the Word, but putting it in to practice. We are to “observe” or obey all that he has commanded. Our study of God’s Word must result in obedience and transformation or we are simply acquiring more knowledge.
“And all who believed were together and had all things in common.”
“And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes,”
To live in community is to do life together. To gather once a week, but have no intentional relationships is not an environment for disciple-making, but simply a class. Discipleship Groups are meant to be a consistent touch point that cultivates difficult conversations when necessary, needs being met when group members encounter difficulty, and joy being shared in times of blessing. This will naturally result in friendships and opportunities that extend beyond a rigid time slot once a week. We are brothers and sisters in Christ, and Jesus said “all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” As we live out Christian community together in our groups, we put the gospel on display. This type of genuine, Christ-centered community is powerful and attractive and draws people to Jesus.
“And they devoted themselves to… the prayers.”
Prayer is intimate connection with God. Praying alone before the Lord is vital and powerful in a disciple’s life. Praying in community with other believers is just as important, but much more easily overlooked. To pray together with those you are in community with, is to intimately connect with God together—it is powerful! In Acts 2, the church is described as being “devoted to the prayers.” The phrase “the prayers” probably doesn’t mean memorized prayers, but rather different types of prayers (prayers of adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication, intercession, etc.). Sharing requests and then having one person pray is a great place to start when it comes to being intentional about prayer in a discipleship group. However, as group members grow in their walk with Christ and in relationship with each other, deeper times of prayer can and should develop.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,…”
“…praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
The idea of living on mission as a discipleship group primarily focuses on encouraging group members to be intentional about sharing the gospel with the people God has placed in their influence. This should include regular discussions about identifying people God has brought in to group member’s lives who have not trusted Christ, and discussions about how to intentionally invest in those people by loving on them in the name of Jesus. Investing may include just the individual who has a relationship with the lost person, or the group coming together in part or as a whole to meet a need, show care, or simply invite that individual to participate in your group. All along the way, make the most of every opportunity to share the gospel with those who are being invested in. God grows His church through His church (us) sharing the gospel as we go, in the places He has planted us, through the relationships he has sovereignly placed in our lives. We are His church, on His mission, every day.