If you want to grow spiritually, you need to connect with other people. Encounter Groups are a key part of spiritual growth here at ERC. In small groups which meet throughout the week, you can discuss the sermon, study the Bible, find support, and discover ways to serve God in the world.
Coming to worship on Sunday is vitally important for our spiritual health, but this is not enough. Large group worship glorifies God and refreshes to soul, but in is necessary to go deeper. We need more to learn all that Jesus desires, and build meaningful supportive spiritual relationships. If we want all that Jesus offers, we must encounter him in the Bible, in others, in prayer, and in service.
ERC is a community of believers called to worship God. We often limit our thinking of worship to what happens within a sanctuary on Sunday mornings. However, if worship is understood as “focused attention on the worth of God,” then it clearly should not be limited to once a week. In fact, understood correctly, worship should fill our weeks.
At ERC we envision Encounter Groups in this way:
- Welcoming God’s guidance
- Open the Bible for sermon based study
- Relationships with both seekers and believers
- Sharing the Good News of Jesus
- Helping others
- Intentional focus and plan
By embracing these activities within a small group setting it will transform individuals, families, our church, and impact those around us.
What happens at Encounter Groups?
In the fall, winter and spring, Encounter Groups gather regularly to examine the teaching from Sunday: Going deeper into the Bible, examining additional facets of the teaching, and making the teaching personal. Beyond study, they create opportunities for encountering the Divine in times of prayer, works of service, and sharing what God has shown us.
Encounter Groups are designed to help spiritual growth through friendships, friendships built around faith. In our full schedules, if we do not take the time to develop meaningful friendships and grow in our faith, we are impoverished. Encounter Groups allow these important activities to take place. “Growth and health require the investment of time.”
Groups meet in homes and at church, both on Sunday and throughout the week. Some groups are specific (for example the Saturday men's group), but most are open to anyone.
On Sunday mornings there are sermon notes which also contain questions to use within Encounter Groups. The group facilitator will use these questions to guide the meeting, this may include exploring additional scriptures, and reflecting on personal experience.
Encounter Groups are an important part of Emmanuel Reformed Church.