If you visited an Orthodox Jewish Seminary, you might be surprised to find classes full of animated discussions as groups of students gather around a text from the Hebrew Scriptures and spiritedly converse about it.
The Hebrew people call such discussion groups, haverims. A haverim is a group of friends who commit to being study partners to have a meaningful conversation about the Scripture.
But there is more to being part of one of these groups than just being a Christian friend. People come together as fellow disciples who desire to grapple with others over the Christian faith – people who want to dig deeply into God’s Word to be challenged and refined. A haverim pushes us together intellectually and spiritually in a relationship that encourages and holds us accountable to grow.
Jesus refers to this in Matthew 18:20, when he says, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
Like other Jewish rabbis of his time, Jesus affirmed his followers’ need for community, underscoring its importance. Amazing things happen when friends come together in this way.
Author and Pastor Greg Ogden calls a group of three “the hothouse of discipleship.”
This fall, here at ECRC, we are in the process of starting some haverim. We are calling ours Huddles. A Huddle is a group of people who commit to meet at least every other week for encouragement and accountability to follow Jesus. A Huddle means that you won’t be walking alone.
Huddles have the following characteristics:
- They are organized, yet organic. A regular Huddle meeting is the “organized” part and sharing life together outside that meeting is the “organic” part.
- Huddles are highly relational yet challenging.
- Huddles focus on becoming deeper and more committed disciples of Jesus by focusing in on UP, IN, and OUT.
- Huddles multiply.
Why are we doing this?
Well for one, research just came out from several healthcare companies citing the reality of what they call “The Loneliness Epidemic.” According to this study, more than half of Americans feel like no one actually knows them well. Almost 60 percent said that the people they surround themselves with “are not necessarily with them.” And almost half the people studied told the researchers that their “relationships aren’t meaningful” and they feel “isolated from others.”
This means that to be a church that makes disciples who make disciples, we need to get people connected to one another in ways that are meaningful and fight against the tendency in our culture to “isolate and go it alone.”
Besides this, gathering around the Word of God with others creates a dynamic chance to grow in your walk with Jesus. When you dig into a text from the Bible with others, it gives the Holy Spirit space to speak, taking it beyond mere information and filling in blanks on a page to wrestling with others about what this text means for your lives. Doing this with others helps you to hear what Jesus is saying to you and what he is asking you to do. And then, it gives you some fellow travelers to ask you how it’s going.
Jesus said, “Go, and as you are going, make disciples…” One of the greatest challenges in the church across the globe – having a meaningful way to create and make disciples. We believe these kinds of Huddles can create a culture of multiplying deeply committed followers of Jesus.
Do you want to really grow in your willingness and ability to follow Jesus? You need a Huddle! Do you want to help others follow Jesus more fully? You need to start a Huddle. It’s as simple as finding two others to begin the journey with. We’ll help you get started.
If you want to learn more about this and how it works, you can email me at [email protected] or just show up this coming Monday evening at 7 pm in the Java Stop. We’ll be training people to start a Huddle. Come check it out!