Devotion: For Life Groups and Families
Welcome to our Devotion page. Here you will find general information about how we engage in smaller communities from “cradle to grave”, as well a growing library of resources for personal and group Devotion. Two main resources here are our weekly personal and Life Group devotion resources, “Faith at Home” (a resource for families) and “Devotions for Life” (a resource for Life Groups).
What is a Life Group? A Life Group is what we call a 21st century, Aldersgate Church version of the traditional Methodist Class Meeting. We believe the Life Group to be the engine for all of our discipleship which is rooted in our rule of life, which is: To witness to Jesus Christ in the world and follow his teachings through acts of compassion, justice, worship and devotion under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.” (The UMC General Rule of Discipleship). The Life Group meets regularly, usually around a meal in someone’s home, where people share about their life, pray together, search the Scriptures together, care for one another, and step out into the world together from time to time in acts of compassion and justice. For more details about our Life Groups and Life Group Gatherings see one model for how to structure a Life Group Gathering below.
Kids & Young Families: Between being a smaller congregation and the COVID-19 protocols over the last 18 months, ministering to our children and families has been, like everything else, a challenge. However this has sparked a new ministry for us at Aldersgate called Faith at Home. Pandemic or not, we believe something that has gotten lost in our culture is the Church equipping and resourcing parents to be spiritual guides for our kids. So we’ve developed a resource called Faith at Home, which is meant to give parents, guardians, and grandparents some tools and guidance about how to connect spiritually at home and as a family. It is our hope that families in our community, would use this resource but then also work to connect with other families socially from time to time. So check out Faith at Home and give us constructive feedback as we work to improve this resource.
How does a Life Group Gathering work?
The key to the Life Group gathering is to disciple one another. But this is not as daunting, intimidating, or perhaps even as boring as it may sound. It begins with building community, which is best done in someone’s home. Here is a recommended schedule for an in-home Life Group Gathering.
- Choose how often you will meet. Weekly is best but not always practical. We recommend ether once or twice a month (we recommend at least twice a month, because then you the group inevitably needs to cancel, you still have a gathering at least once that month).
- Have a meal together. It doesn’t need to be fancy. One way to build community through the meal is to have different people bring different courses.
- While eating, do a check in with one another. The Wesleyan question is “how does your soul prosper”, which feels very 18th century. You don’t need to ask that literal question, but get to the heart of it, which is a couple things. First, simply “how are you?” But also, “what are you doing to tend to your soul?” And third, “what does your soul long for today?” Another way of saying that is “how can we pray for you today?”
- After eating, take some time to pray for one another in whatever form works for your group, and somehow addressing the needs expressed in your conversation.
- Conclude the evening with the reading of the scripture passage, using any or all of the questions for discussion and reflection included here. You may also want to think back to the sermon on that text and discuss what you heard in it.
Kids and Youth Programs: Like many churches, COVID hit us hard. In full disclosure, since then we have had very few children and youth involved in our community, something we grieve as we have long tradition of vital children’s and youth ministries. That being said, your kids’ squawks and squeals are welcome in our sanctuary. During the academic year, we also offer a children’s message during worship, and a Sunday school experience for kids about preschool age to 2nd grade. We are currently working to find a new way of tending to the Spiritual needs of our teenagers, but also believe that teenagers have a lot to offer in the regular, “adult” ministries we offer as well.
If you have questions regarding children, youth, or adult groups, contact The Office.