At Grace we use the designation “ABF” for a certain type of community group. It stands for Adult Bible Fellowship.
Adult: There shouldn’t be too much explanation needed here. We offer a traditional Sunday school type program on Sunday mornings for children, but we have a different concept for adults.
Bible: The scripture is God’s revelation of his will to us. As his followers we need to learn and grow in our knowledge and practice of the scriptures. The ABF time will always include some dedicated portion devoted to the teaching of scripture in a group setting.
Fellowship: An ABF is intentionally fellowship focused. Churches need a sense of community where people can practice the many “one another” aspects of the Christian life. Large churches without such intentional communities cannot possibly fulfill all the commands of scripture concerning the body of Christ.
- ABFs are not identical to the concept of a “small group” or “cell”. ABFs are always “open” to newcomers. Small groups will eventually “close” and experience more intimacy. ABFs are like neighborhoods or adult youth groups within the church. It’s a place to get to meet and connect with others.
- ABFs are able to offer believers a chance to develop and use their spiritual gifts within the church. People with serving, mercy, teaching, leading and other gifts are invited to use those for the good of all. The teacher of the class is not seen as “the leader” but as part of a team of leaders.
- ABFs do not regard themselves as a “Sunday-only” event, but as a community. That means social, outreach and service events happen also outside of the Sunday morning schedule.
- ABFs are life-stage oriented. Our people have the freedom to find an ABF that fits them, but we suggest going toward a class of similar-aged adults. Once there, the ABF should become like a family. We do not encourage people to change ABFs in order to hear a particular teacher or topical series.
- Because ABFs remain open, people can join at any point along the way. This means that the Bible teaching in an ABF should not require large amounts of preparation on the part of the participants. For more committed, in-depth, studies requiring preparation, the church also has a small group ministry. Those groups typically form, begin a study together and close after a short time.
Here is a list of our current ABFs at Grace:
TBA – College & Career: Meets in Room 13 (NE corner of the building). College-age and beyond, an informal group of singles.
The Gathering: Our newest ABF meets in Room 2 (SW corner of the worship center) and is primarily young married couples.
Ax (Abiding in Christ): This group meets in Room 10 (NE corner of the fellowship center). Singles and couples, most of the people in this ABF have school-age kids at home.
JOY (Just Older Youth): JOY meets in Room 9 (SE corner of the fellowship center). Median-aged adults, or maybe better called the “empty nesters.”
Growing in Grace: This ABF is diverse and intergenerational. A wide range of adults to senior adults, they meet in The Cafe – Room 8 (near the kitchen, SW corner of the fellowship center)