Each adult family group is assigned to a Shepherd Group. These groups are given oversight by an elder and are the foundational way to minister the many "One Another" commands given in Scripture.
There are two commands given to us in Scripture: Love God and Love our neighbors. (Matt 22:38-39). It is out of our love for God that we love people—all people. This means that relationships are vital to God and should be vital to us! If the depths of relationships and our commitment to one another are so important to God, then it only stands to reason that there is a planned time in our church calendar where good relationships can be established and maintained. True discipleship cannot be confined to a classroom. As outlined by Paul in Colossians 1:28, the lecture style of teaching does not allow for genuine “warning” and “teaching” that God’s people must give themselves to because of Christ. Small groups are where we develop those relationships. We call them Shepherd Groups. That is, small groups where people can be cared for.
There are several purposes for establishing shepherd groups for our church:
To broaden the involvement of gifted teachers in the body of believers at CBC;
To break down the body of believers into smaller groups for accountability;
To intentionally include in our normal calendar, time to fulfill God commands for fellowship and the “One Another” imperatives of Scripture;
To create a cross-generational environment where people can love and serve each other;
To edify, exhort, and disciple God’s people in a more defined manner that includes all of the body;
To care for the needs of people in life stages (marriage, child bearing, etc.), as well as life emergencies, where special care is needed.
The church body is divided into small, cross-generational groups. The groups provide a two-pronged approach to aid in the fulfillment of God’s command to make disciples.
The shepherd group forms the basis for genuine koinonia fellowship. The groups meet at least once a month so people can spend time talking, sharing, and praying together with the focus on learning each other. Each elder of the church gives oversight to the shepherd group along with a deacon who will help serve the small group. It is here that building relationships, developing existing relationships, and meeting new people can happen in an organic setting or a home environment. This non-formal tool is a means to an end. The end is to know each other in such a way that ministering to each other’s needs is facilitated. This is the foundation of genuine koinonia fellowship.
The shepherd group is the basis for personal care of each individual in the church. The shepherd group allows for care in relation to baby and bridal showers, hospital care, care in the normal difficulties of life, one-on-one discipleship, financial needs, job needs, and any special care that each individual may have. Personal, loving care is vital in the life of the church. Shepherd groups are a tool to help meet the needs of the entire body of believers.
Involvement. Involvement. Involvement. The elders serve as shepherd group leaders for CBC. They lead in both verbally and visually instructing from God’s Word and caring for God’s people. Along with each elder, there is at least one deacon assigned to help organize and administrate the SG. It is the job of these men to involve other people in their group to become servants of the group through oversight of group fellowships, group ministries, and group outreach! It is the goal of these groups to serve visiting people and attempt to merge these folks into their respective SG for accountability and fellowship. The SG strives to be alert to each other’s needs so that these important needs can be met in an individual way. The key is delegation and involvement of the people in doing the work of the ministry so that true biblical discipleship can take place within the body of believers.
The goal is to place everyone who attends CBC into a small group whether they attend regularly or not. Those who attend less frequently will be contacted by someone within the small group to encourage participation. This is to encourage personal involvement of one-on-one discipleship and counseling within the small group by the leaders of the small group. Our overall goal is to glorify God through the personal involvement of the saints in ministering to the spiritual, physical, and mental needs of those around them.
Ephesians 4:11-16 “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”