Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Why Cotton Ridge Is Awesome - It Is Built on Relationships

Every church believes that it is built on relationships, and to an extent this is necessarily true. However, many churches don't value relationships enough to let it determine their programming, schedule, and emphases.

In the early days of Cotton Ridge, the idea came along that the church needed Sunday School. After all, most of its members had been conventional Southern Baptists. So, not long after the church had moved into a rented facility with some available classrooms, the church gave Sunday School a try.

It didn't work. Was it because there weren't enough teachers or volunteers? No. Sunday School didn't work because of an unintended consequence: It harmed the natural fellowship that occurred prior to our worship together on Sundays. The people of Cotton Ridge were willing to change their traditions for the sake of the health of the body of Christ.

The small group structure at Cotton Ridge became what we call LifeGroups--small groups of believers meeting in homes. LifeGroups have a number of advantages: the opportunity for extended meetings, easily reproducible groups, and most important, an environment conducive to building relationships.

The repeated story I hear from a number of people at Cotton Ridge is: "I had never been a part of home groups. I've always done Sunday School. But I wouldn't ever want to go back." Just today a young lady told me how strong and meaningful her friendships are in the group of which she's a part.

Uplifting and edifying relationships are essential for the Christian. Through them we are challenged, encouraged, and supported. And we must always remember that these kind of relationships are longed for by those without Christ. Through relationships, Cotton Ridge is poised to make a major impact for God's kingdom in its community and beyond.

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