This is part of a series: Rituals for Resistance. If we take seriously the idea that churches are to be base communities for resistance then our rituals as communities should strengthen us for the work of resisting the dominant narratives of the United States. I want to think through some of the things a lot of church communities already do and reframe them as tools for resistance. If you’ve missed any, you can catch up!

 

When I was in high school, small groups were the big thing in our youth group. You were assigned to a small group based on your gender. We met weekly to talk about the Bible and pray for one another. Each week I knew there was going to be a group of people that would pray for me, would check in with me to see how I was doing, and would be committed to following in the way of Jesus with me. It was a powerful time. cells

 

As I started thinking about the model for House of the Transfiguration I started thinking about the programming that would be necessary to live out our vision and I came back to the idea of the house groups. I miss having a group of people that cares about me, that encourages me to do better, and that holds me accountable. I think it’s important to have that kind of community in place, especially if one wants to follow in the way of Jesus in the empire of the United States.

 

In our model people will join in groups based on the neighborhood they live in. It’s important that you be able to gather with people who live in proximity to you. It needs to be easy to get to your group. But it also means that if someone in your group needs something, there are people close by who can step in to help. These groups will gather in someone’s house around a meal. Groups will be for community, accountability, and encouragement.

 

I think the accountability part is really key here: we need to have people in our lives who really know us and who can help us to see things about ourselves that we can’t see. And we need people to walk with us to help us achieve the goals we set for ourselves. Sometimes I need someone to ask me if I have been spending time in prayer, or making sure that I journal, or whatever it is that I need to do to make sure that I am working on my spiritual life. But even more than that, I think it’s helpful to have people to walk along side of who share your values and who can encourage you. Maybe everyone in the group wants to make a commitment to shop locally, or to volunteer at a local organization, or to pick up trash in the neighborhood. Having a cell group that is all centered in one neighborhood means you can encourage one another to do these things.

 

This is also more than just gathering with a group of friends for social time. It’s a group that is focused on meeting regularly and caring for one another. Friends can get busy and before you know it it’s been a month since you’ve seen each other. Or maybe you’ll hang out but the stuff you’re thinking through or struggling with won’t come up. It helps to be intentional about the reason that you’re meeting and make sure that it’s regular and consistent.

 

Maybe you don’t have a church that you feel comfortable in, or maybe your church doesn’t have house groups or hold different values when it comes to social issues. Can you gather a group of friends that will commit to eating together and supporting one another in a more intentional way?

 

We can’t do this alone.

 

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