What is the vision of First Free? Celebrating lives transformed by Jesus. A life radically altered by Jesus is something to celebrate, both at conversion and in daily relationship with him. What is an amazing way to see, enter, and participate in that vision? Discipling through community. That is the goal of small groups and what we have sought to unify under in the past year.

We also had a gifted brother, Steve Bishop, offer to serve with the small group team of Del and I (Josh Dekker). This allowed us to communicate weekly with group facilitators that had Steve contributing study guides based on the sermon series, devotionals from our own hearts and ministry updates. We also were able to re-discover and partially implement an organized structure of facilitators and coaches with two coaches joining the team! While the “theoretical” was established more successfully, the practical struggled. We failed to recruit new group facilitators. As a result, certain groups are beyond a practical size with some other brothers and sisters waiting to join still. To help and encourage people to feel comfortable facilitating, we strove to make the process as simple as possible with weekly study guides, coaches and quarterly training. However, we can always serve better with this all in God’s timing:) 

In the future, opportunities exist to more clearly proclaim how small groups fulfill the vision of First Free and the overall mission of the Church. As well, apprenticing new leaders through the existing groups has great potential! As people see this I pray they will understand the honor it is to pursue Christ in community. Our Savior calls us to exciting, sometimes painful work, and this is vividly seen in equipping, encouraging and evangelizing with fellow brothers and sisters for the kingdom.



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