By Jay Fennell

I think it’s obvious to everyone that popular culture is changing rapidly. Instead of the culture leaning in toward God, it leans in the opposite direction, away from God and against Biblical values and worldview. We have known that the world is in darkness, blinded by sin and thus cannot see the Light, which is Jesus Christ. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, “And even if this gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” This is not new. The enemy is active and seeks to kill, steal and destroy. We look around and confirm that he is good at what he does.
But as the world continues to drift more and more into darkness, as Christ followers we are called more than ever to be a light. As we embark on the day, God is sending us out as missionaries in our own context, to demonstrate and communicate the redemptive grace of God wherever we go. We participate in His Kingdom by being His ambassador, a messenger with good news, and reflecting the glory of Jesus Christ by the things we say, do and think. And this work is not easy. In fact, it is extremely difficult. Darkness doesn’t understand the Light (John 1:5). As we go out as Christ’s ambassadors, we will undoubtedly face ridicule and persecution and conflict. We will be depleted and poured out as we interface with a lost world. There is war going on for the souls of men and we are on the frontline of that war, engaged in battles that will at times discourage and exhaust us to the point of giving up.
That’s where the LIFE Group community comes in… to be a community of encouragement and refuge where Christ followers come to be filled up so that they can go back out and get depleted all over again. LIFE Groups are not the destination. They’re not to be “holy huddles” removed from the world. They are to be a place where Christ followers gather to mutually encourage and build each other up; to receive the nourishment of God’s Word; to pray and enjoy community with others who have trusted Christ and are saved by His grace; so that they can be sent out like sheep among wolves to engage the culture with the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  A LIFE Group is an interdependent community of people who are all on mission to love Jesus and reach a lost world together.
Yes, we are in different times. Yes, we look around and can become discouraged by what e see in the world. But the mandate remains: we are to go and make disciples of Jesus in this world. And LIFE Groups are designed to be Christ-centered environments where people are empowered, equipped and encouraged to do that.
My encouragement to you is to position your group this way. Don’t settle for laissez-faire expression of LIFE Group. Keep the mission of Jesus front and center… to seek and save he lost.