Greetings from Bath County, Virginia! I’ve been spending most of my summer out at Camp Alkulana, supporting Beth and the staff here in the good work they are doing. Beth, Julian, and I have been in Richmond a couple of times this summer, though, and have been in regular touch via email and Facebook, so we’ve seen and heard testimony of the good things going on at church while we are out of town. It is a blessing to be able to see the ways God is at work both here at Camp Alkulana and at Tabernacle this summer. Beth, Julian, and I are excited to come back to Richmond full time in just a few more weeks. In the meantime we’re grateful for your support and encouragement as we finish out our summer of ministry at Alkulana.
While I’ve been away at Alkulana, I’ve been working on preparing for our discipleship programming at TBC for this fall. These last few weeks I’ve been working with Tracy Hartman planning our Wednesday evening programming. We’ll share more on that soon, but I do want you to know that I am excited about what we’ve been working on!
Earlier this summer I conducted an evaluation of our small group ministry at TBC, and the results were especially encouraging. Members of our four small groups helped me by participating in an online survey in June, the results of which reveal that many good things are happening in our small groups. Here are some of the highlights of the survey:
Responses are overwhelmingly positive in suggesting that small group members experience significant spiritual growth as they wrestle with the meaning of biblical texts and discuss the weekly sermon together. Members also report that they have been able to build deep, meaningful relationships through their small groups. Each week they share their personal stories of faith, break bread, fellowship together, and pray for one another and for our church. One of the things I hear most often when I talk to folks at our church is that they are seeking ways to build deeper relationships with others. I am happy to report that our small groups are meeting this vital need in our congregation. Our small group members are also active in caring for one another. They are small communities of faith within our larger church family, where people find opportunities to get to know one another deeply and in turn are deeply known. They share “life together,” in all that it entails.
As we look to the future of small group ministry at Tabernacle, I am hoping we can find ways to work a deeper sense of mission into the DNA of each small group. Our small groups already have a strong sense that God is calling us as a church to serve and participate in God’s activity in Richmond and in the world. This coming year I’m hoping that each small group will find new, relevant ways to use their collective gifts by engaging in mission together. As I look back and look ahead, it is clear that God is present and at work in our small group ministry. I’m excited about the future.
Tabernacle Baptist Church currently has four small group communities that meet weekly throughout the Richmond area. If you’re interested in joining one or helping to start a new small group, please contact Art at firstname.lastname@example.org.