Care groups are gatherings of 12-18 adults committed to CrossWay who help one another be affected and changed, in every area of life, by the gospel. Each care group seeks to become a community of gospel-centered people.
The gospel is God's gracious giving of himself to us through Jesus Christ. The church is founded on and nurtured by the gospel and its ongoing effects. Therefore, the mission of care groups is to strengthen the church by being communities of people who together rejoice in being new creations and who help one another lay hold of all that God has for them in Christ.
Care groups accomplish this in three ways:
1. Biblical Relationships
The Christian life is not solitary. God calls us to live out our lives with him in the context of relationships - especially those relationships with the members of our local church. The care group structure provides a context to enjoy friendships, give care during trials, serve together, and help one another grow.
2. Spiritual Life
The care group should be a place where we expect God to be at work. Our meetings allow for time to cultivate an awareness of the Holy Spirit's presence and activity. This building of faith in God's active presence often takes place in moments of encouraging each other through Scripture, praying and worshiping together, and using spiritual gifts to build up one another.
3. Christian Growth
Gospel-centered believers grow in Christ-likeness as they walk out their Christian lives with one another. The care group setting is a place where we can share openly, explore a biblical understanding of ourselves, invite others to help illuminate the thoughts and motives of our hearts, confess sin, apply the truth of the gospel to our lives, and help one another change through mutual care.
Care groups may differ in small but important ways from groups you may have benefited from prior to coming to CrossWay. There are benefits to all these models, but it is important to know what to expect when joining a care group.
Bible Study - Every care group will certainly take time to read and study Scripture together, and some may even work through whole books of the Bible together, but care groups will tend to major on application of truth rather than on receiving new teaching.
Self-Help Group - Though we emphasize helping one another, care groups are not a place to simply talk about problems and solutions apart from the gospel. Care group members minister to one another by speaking the truth in love, helping one another obey God's word, praying for the work of the Holy Spirit, and ultimately finding their help and hope in God alone.
Discipleship/Accountability Group - Though discipleship and accountability will take place in care groups, members are not assigned to a discipler as part of a discipleship system, nor are they necessarily put to a rigorous, weekly set of accountability questions. At the core, care groups rely more on a group-wide dynamic of biblical fellowship and mutual care to accomplish change.
Cell Group - Care groups will be involved in evangelism and growing the church, but will tend to be more permanent than typical cell groups. Over time groups often multiply, send out new leaders, and welcome new members in, but typically at a pace that allows for relationships to bear the fruit of sanctification.
Social Group -Though genuinely loving relationships are essential, it is not necessary for a care group member to find their best friends in their own care group. What is necessary is that each person take steps forward in faith, trusting God to use others in the group to help him or her grow in Christ.
What is life like in a care group?
Care groups usually meet once per week, either as a whole group or broken out into meetings of just men or women. Whatever the setting, the goal is the same: to build a community of gospel-centered people.
Some pattern of regular meetings is crucial to a group's success, but the life of the care group is not limited to meetings. Care group is not just about attending meetings, but about sharing life together as a community of gospel-centered people. Therefore, group members will find themselves meeting individually outside the meetings, talking by phone or email, being in one another's homes, getting to know each other's children, and sharing life together in a variety of ways.
Care group leaders are given these three responsibilities:
1. Cultivate biblical relationships by creating a context in which they can grow.
2. Promote faith for the work of the Spirit by praying for this, giving opportunities to serve one another with spiritual gifts, and encouraging awareness of God's presence.
3. Encourage growth in Christ-likeness by facilitating discussions that invite biblical fellowship.
A care group leader's wife serves the group by caring for her husband, being hospitable, and serving the group as her gifts and maturity allow. Often she will give leadership to the women's meetings.
Care group leaders are cared for by one of CrossWay's pastors. Six to eight care groups are linked together in a sphere which is led by an elder. Each elder meets regularly with the care group leaders in his sphere to care for them and the members of their group. Elders also help with major group transitions, address leadership issues, and provide other forms of care.
The first step to joining a care group is to attend Vision & Values. This class outlines the values that care groups so strongly seek to live out and also highlights the importance of CrossWay members being in a care group. Each attendee will receive a Care Group Interest Form. Completing this form makes us aware of your desire to be in a group. You can expect to be placed as new groups are formed or as existing groups are ready to add new members.