Fellowship Groups are small gathering with one purpose: to bring people together. We believe God created us to live in relationship with others and only then can we live the full life He intends for us. Sharing life through community is part of our design, but meaningful relationships aren’t always easy to find. That’s why Fellowship Groups exist—to make these life-changing relationships relevant and accessible to you.
"...in the temple and from house to house..." Acts 2:46, 5:42, 20:20
The New Testament Church had this pattern of meeting together on both a larger scale and in small groups. Because of the different dynamics of each setting, there is important stuff that takes place in each. The Church of the 20th and now 21st centuries has had more of an emphasis on the "big" gathering, even referring to it as "the main meeting" and relegating the small gatherings as optional. In the New Testament, however, the small, relationally-geared meetings from house to house were a vital and regular part of their lives in Christ. Most of how God instructs us to live--to be understood as, the fullness of life--cannot be learned or carried out in the big gatherings, significant and life-giving as they are. Consider these truths:
The priority of God's heart is love. (1 John 4:16)
The commandment to love fulfills every other command God gives us. (Romans 13:8-10)
Love is the distinguishing mark that we are His disciples. (John 13:34-35)
Love is learned in the context of relationships. (Romans 12:10)
There are over 30 different "one another" directives in the New Testament. (Such as Romans 12:10 above)
Most of the New Testament is instruction on how to care for one another. (Matthew-Revelation)
Having only a diet of "going to church" on Sunday mornings, it is impossible to fully live out the abundant life Jesus came to give us. Life in Christ is all about learning to be loved and to love. It doesn't happen well in a larger meeting. However, small groups of people intentionally gathering for that purpose are an excellent incubator. That's why we of the Upper Room are engaging in Fellowship Groups.
The purpose of these groups is to develop life-giving relationships that are highly encouraging, supportive, and valued. I may be getting the cart before the horse but here are 3 things we want you to know up front:
Join a group based on who is in it. -- You're more likely to develop valuable relationships if you're with people you want to get to know.
If it seems like the group is a bad fit, bailout within the first 3 weeks with no apprehension or guilt. -- We want you to develop great relationships so a bad experience would only hinder you from trying again.
If you go all ten weeks and still don't gel with the group, try a new one the next session. -- You are not locked in. Even if most everyone else wants to stay, you are free to try another group. And if it takes trying several groups to find the right fit, we want you to do so. This is important!
Fellowship Groups meet every week and last for 10 weeks.
There will be Spring, Fall, and Winter sessions with breaks in between. Summers will officially be off.
Groups may choose to stay together for the next session or even meet through the Summer if they like.
Though groups may be developed around other studies, the "default" is discussion and further study around the most recent Sunday morning message.
Enroll in a group at the Welcome Center on Sunday morning. Note the time and day they meet to make sure that works for you.
Since the quality of the relationships breaks down when the groups are too large, groups will be considered full when there are 14 people signed up.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT FELLOWSHIP GROUPS
WHAT IS A FELLOWSHIP GROUP? Fellowship Groups are an exciting way for you to meet and connect with others! By meeting in homes across the area, Fellowship Groups provide a fun-filled, relaxing environment for people to engage in meaningful relationships by doing life together. Fellowship Groups are focused on building relationships, growing together in your walk with God and praying for one another.
WHEN DO FELLOWSHIP GROUPS MEET? Fellowship Groups meet every week or every other week at various locations around the Columbiana area.
HOW ARE GROUPS STRUCTURED? House Groups are made up of 8-12 people who meet throughout the Columbiana area. Groups are available for people of all ages, stages of life, and spiritual maturity.
WHAT IS A TYPICAL FELLOWSHIP GROUP GET TOGETHER LIKE? Most groups will start off with sharing how your week was, what were some highlights, and meeting new people. Then you’ll move into a time of talking about the previous Sunday sermon and how it affected your walk with Jesus.
WHAT TYPE OF STUDY DOES THE FELLOWSHIP GROUP FOLLOW? Fellowship Group discussions are either centered on the current Sunday sermon at The Upper Room Fellowship or on a specific topic of choice.
WHAT IF I HAVE CHILDREN? There are groups where children are welcome. When inquiring about a group, you can ask the leader how their group organizes with children.
WHAT IF I DON'T CONNECT WITH THE FELLOWSHIP GROUP I VISIT? Our goal at The Upper Room Fellowship is to help you find meaningful relationships in which you can grow. We understand that it may take checking out two or three different groups to find the right fit. With that in mind, we encourage you to give each group a few weeks before trying a new one.