“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” – Acts 2:42
What is the vision for Community Groups at Ascension?
The vision for Community Groups at Ascension comes from the description of the early church’s practice in Acts 2:42-7. The church devoted itself to four core practices: devotion to the apostle’s teaching, fellowship, sharing meals, and prayer. As we know from the rest of Acts, these core practices formed the community for the sake of bearing witness to Christ in word and deed to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and ‘the ends of the earth’.
The New Testament is clear that this commission is not issued to solitary disciples, but to the body of Christ, the people that God is forming for himself. The Bible affirms the dignity, the worth, and the freedom of the individual, but it repudiates individualism. Individualism, which can be summarized as a belief in personal autonomy and self-creation, is at odds with the biblical conviction that “we are individually members of one another” (Rom. 12:5). In addition to corporate worship every Sunday, our Community Groups are the chief way that we express our conviction that we are a body and not isolated individuals with private relationships to Christ.
Our Community Groups bear these commitments and practices out in different ways. Some groups meet every week, others meet every other week. Some share a meal at every meeting, others elect to do so on special occasions. All of our groups are open to participation by anyone, but they differ in the degree of commitment that they require. Some groups are open and flexible in terms of participation. Some groups, which we call Rule of Life Community Groups, require a greater degree of commitment. The Community of St. Barnabas, for instance, abides by a communal rule adapted from the Rule of St. Benedict for lay use and asks for a year-long commitment from members. At the heart of all of our groups, however, is the commitment to form disciples into the body of Christ through the core practices of the faith for the sake of the mission of the gospel.
Where do they meet?
Community Groups meet on different days at different locations throughout the City of Pittsburgh. While each group is committed to sharing life together in the ways described above, they all have their own character and particular emphases. You can view our Community Group Map by clicking on the image of the map.
How do I sign up?
Please click the Sign Up link to get connected to a group. You may also be in touch with our co-Associate Rector, Jonathan Warren. He will be happy to help you find a group and connect to its leader. We are adding groups all of the time and sometimes it’s difficult to find the right fit.