An Open Letter to the Groups Community

Dear Groups Community,

I’m often overtaken by the longing I have to see, “a biblical small group within walking distance of every person on the planet making disciples that make disciples.” In fact, I think the passion has become an obsession. Many of you have joined me on this journey and for that I am grateful.

When I do a gut check on myself I realize why the intensity is so off the charts. I think it is so intense because of what I see becoming the new reality. Truth is no longer truth. Sin is no longer considered sin. A massive number of Christians seem to be spiritual babes, “tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” (Ephesians 4:14) Bottom line… The culture is shaping the church instead of the transformational power of the Gospel shaping believers who intuitively shape the culture.

The world needs believers who will live their faith. A movement needs to begin. And a movement will begin when thousands upon thousands of believers are in small groups that encourage one another to be true disciples of Jesus Christ. I believe God may start this movement through the Hebrews Initiative.

The Hebrews Initiative is a movement founded on the power of God’s Word and the power of Christian community as experienced in small groups. Some months ago I was studying Hebrews. This incredible book was written for believers who had forgotten that Jesus is superior to all others, who were drifting from the truths they had been taught, who were being persecuted, and because of this, needed to live by faith. These believers were experiencing what today’s church is experiencing. Within the words found in these 13 chapters are the keys to today’s church being the church Jesus envisioned.

I realized that if, during a set aside season, thousands of group pastors and church leaders would lead the groups they’re responsible for to study the book of Hebrews, God might build a massive coalition of passionate, resolute, Gospel centered believers who mirror the image of the strong, caring, loving Jesus who called us to serve His Kingdom.

The Hebrews Initiative is simply this… A coalition of the willing studying the book of Hebrews between August and December of 2015 with the goal of holding fast to its ideals and living it’s expectations courageously.

Imagine a world where Jesus is a welcomed part of almost any conversation, where children are discipled by their own parents and those children never worry about daddy leaving mommy, where churches are unified and unresolved conflict seldom occurs, and where Christians are known for their grace rather than being known for their judgmental attitudes. This can become a reality if our groups ministries create an environment where being the church is more important than doing church. This is possible!

But, this is only possible if believers are in small groups encouraging one another to live what they’re learning. Hebrews 10:24 – 25, reminds us of the importance of believers being together for accountability and encouragement, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Senior Pastor, Small Group Pastor, Small Group Point Person, Small Group Leader… I’m asking you to lead your groups ministry to join the Hebrews Initiative.

To find out everything you need to know, go to the link below. Before you leave that site I’m praying you’ll commit your group ministry to becoming part of something that just may impact the world as much as anything has for quite sometime.

http://www.lifeway.com/n/special-emphasis/hebrews-initiative

Humbly,

Rick Howerton

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