God has always been forming a people for tangible Kingdom purposes in the world. We believe that our participation in God’s mission can only be fulfilled when we are rooted and established in dwelling places - a.k.a. Pockets - of Christ’s love (based on St.Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:16-19).For this reason we intentionally create space for groups to be guided by Jesus & formed by our 4 Bench/Stool Values: Word, Spirit, Justice, and Community.
Pockets are outposts of refuge and rest where we are filled with God’s love. Pockets are launching zones for sharing God’s love with our neighbors. Coastal Pockets are unique blends of people following Jesus together on pilgrimage to accurately love each other, Greater Portland, and the world.
Values: Cultivating sustainable faith Practices within a Pocket
Spirit: Praying Together…
For one another AND interceding on behalf of our neighbors, the poor and oppressed, the Church, and our mission partners around the block and around the world.
Listening & obeying the Holy Spirit together.
Discerning God's call and our vocations on behalf of each other.
They devoted themselves to prayer (Acts 2:42)
“Whenever Christians come together, they will pray for each other, pray for the authorities, pray for peace, come before God in petition and thanksgiving, pray for their enemies, bless those who curse them, practice exorcisms and pray for healing.” – Wolfgang Simpson
Community: Communion Together…
A “sacramental” meal/snack (1 Corinthians 11)
Our stories, our burdens, our joy and pain in authentic fashions
Our possessions (Acts 4:32-37)
The weight of our sin through confession and repentance (James 5:16)
Our spiritual gifts, talents and abilities (1 Corinthians 12)
Mutual accountability for our life in Christ (Colossians 3)
TK Shepherds and Locations:
+ Tibbs Group: Tuesday evenings @ 6pm in the Westbrookish area. Emily and Matt have 2 children and they love Jesus and other people. The Tibbetts like asking good questions, eating, and exploring tangible ways of following Jesus better. For more info please contact Em or Matt: 831.5749 / email@example.com | Group conversation revolving around: Death by Suburbs - Goetz
+ Bessey Prayer & Support Group: Wednesdays @ NOON at the Coastal building. For those who are interested in praying & meditating on the Word together during the day-time, Judi Aho-Russ will be facilitating this group at the Coastal building. For more info please contact Judi: 282.4482 / firstname.lastname@example.org
+ Echo: A group of young people reverberating the love of Christ in Greater Portland: Wednesday evenings @ 6:30 in the home of Greg & Erika Walton. Our hope is for a group of people who are practically working out their faith in a multi-generational setting (teens – twenty-somethings – seasoned Christ followers). For more info please contact Greg at: 286.5617 / email@example.com or Victoria at: 218.760.1711 / firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the FB page.
+ The Field Trip: At least once per month Beth Shorey will be guiding trips all around Greater Portland to help us posture ourselves to see Jesus and be Jesus. Trips could include visits to: City benches, the Dunstan Cemetary, the Scarborough Marsh, Slab, lighthouses, etc. These events will be posted on the Coastal FB page, sent in our weekly e-news, and announced at our Gatherings. For more info please contact Beth: 553.0148 / email@example.com
+ Witas Group: Wednesday evenings @ 7pm in Scarborough area. This group bases its structure around the Tangible Kingdom concepts which means, they meet for dinner and biblical-oriented dialogue around 2x per month, host a community-oriented function 1x per month, and are involved in a justice-oriented happening 1x per month. Grace, laughter, and practicality abound in this group setting. For more info please contact Marny at: 632.9655 / firstname.lastname@example.org | Group Convo will be: Death by Suburbs
+ Coastalology: Thursday evenings @ 6:30pm in the Pine Point area. Let’s mix up some seasoned Coastal veterans with some folks who are newer to the community and some local neighbors, and viola, what do we get? = Coastalology. For more info contact David or Laura: 885.5821 or 317.292.3374 / email@example.com | Group Focus: B+E+L+L+S
We don’t know a lot about what the early Church did when they got together, but we do know that they met in homes and that they ate food. Acts 2:46 reminds us that the early Jesus followers ate together with glad and sincere hearts. When Jesus taught people, it revolved around bread and wine in real-life situations. The sharing of a meal is a sign of peace – the common bread and cup demonstrates Christ reconciling us to God, and also reconciling us with each other.
“The Lord’s Supper was a substantial supper with symbolic meaning, not a symbolic supper with a substantial meaning.”– Simpson
Something else we know about these early gatherings is that everyone was expected to contribute – it was a time of participation, not performance. That’s why Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:26 – “When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word ofinstruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.”
When we come together, we should share food, resources, gifts in order to build up the body of Christ (Acts 2:44, 45)
“As the company of the redeemed, we do not belong to ourselves any more; we belong to God and therefore to God’s community.” – Simpson
We become accessible for each other during group times as well as throughout the span of each week by: sharing cars, sharing meals, offering practical expressions of love, and ultimately, bearing each other’s burdens, thereby, fulfilling the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).
Offering a peculiar Presence of love by rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep (Romans 12:15) and this activates an atmosphere of safety, vulnerability, and confession where human formation in the way of Jesus can take root.
Accurately responding to the voice of Christ’s Spirit as well as actively listening to each other’s stories.
Word: Meditating Together…
Listening, chewing (Hagah - a Hebrew phrase for meditating), and discussing biblical texts for the building up and equipping each other for lives of worship to God, love for each other, and redemptive mission into all the world (Matt. 28:20, Romans 1:5) We teach each other to obey everything Christ commanded.
Justice: Tangible Action & Playing Together…
Action/Application of the Word in ordinary, daily living. We must ask redemptive questions like, "Is the study we engage in really and truly leading us into tangible acts of love and service to the broken world in Jesus’ name? What specific action is Jesus calling us to fight for/against? Where is Jesus sending us? "
Recreation: Intentionally and unintentionally, leaving room for playing, resting, and enjoying God’s creation.
Laughter, fun, and recreation are facets of humanity and should unintentionally and intentionally occur in the midst of group settings in order to draw us and our neighbors closer together.
…Sentness or MissionalResponse becomes the result or built-in feature of Pocket Groups. Rather than a one time event or service project, we lovingly act in specific ways to each other, our neighbors & world according to the Spirit’s leading. Literally during our group time and “as we go” about our daily rhythms, the love of Christ should radiate from our lives. The group serves as a space to cultivate peace, remind us of our identity, and re-commission us to live out the Way of Christ every week, day, moment.
The aforementioned values are practiced for the sake of equipping and empowering us for mission, the evidence of which is shown in the following ways: = By accurately serving one another…especially in times of need. = By accurately serving a broken world by linking with ministry partners or creating strategies to serve and alleviate injustice together. = By inviting friends, neighbors, co-workers into our lives (as an individual and a group) and taking a sincere interest in theirs. = By encouraging one another to use our gifts by discerning God’s mission in each other’s vocational calling and everyday work.
Commitments in a new kind of Family + Attendance: Group members should give priority to their predetermined meeting time each week. If unable to participate, they should notify a fellow group member. + Frequency: If a group is to truly live out God’s purposes for, and through them, they will recognize the limitations of a once-a-week meeting. Group members are encouraged to share life / mission together as often as possible. + Confidentiality: What is shared within Pockets, stays in Pockets. + Expectancy: The Spirit is present and at work among us. Expect the Risen Christ to be present in power, healing, transformation and mystery! + Multiplication: We need to be prepared to make a place for all who desire to journey with us toward God’s purposes. As the number of group members increases the group should be open to sending out a new group, thereby creating another Kingdom outpost for justice. + Participation: 1 Corinthians 14:26 – “When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.” In other words, we…
Come prepared to participate in all discussion (through speaking and active listening). Bring your reflections, meditations, practical suggestions and stories of God’s faithfulness to share.
Contribute to the sacramental meal or shared snack.
Come prepared to exercise your spiritual gifts and to receive the gifts of others. *Note: A practical way to engage all participants is by distributing the responsibilities of the group (i.e. a meal organizer, a childcare coordinator, missional coordinator, discussion facilitators, etc.).
*Each individual/family should consider the significance of these commitments before entering a Pocket Group.
Coastal Community Church P.O. Box 1701 - Portland, Maine 04104 | 207.885.5820 | firstname.lastname@example.org :: following Jesus together ::