As a church, we have just completed a 6 week course called ‘Paraclesis’ by Trevor Partridge and published by CWR. (see www.paraclesis.org.uk) The Greek word means to come alongside and journey together.
The course is designed to lead small groups through a series of bible studies with great personal reflection built in. There are resources for sermons and small group leaders available online as well as a participants guide for everyday use. As the guide only costs £5, our groups were happy to buy a personal copy for study at home. There are useful communication tips to use everyday and also a set of Kindness Cards to nudge the group into actions they may not have thought of yet.
The idea is to intentionally love one another in the church more than we do and this will then spill over into life in the everyday, at home, school, work, college, gym and supermarket.
It also encourages us to look at our lives and see how we have journeyed since birth. Nothing is ever wasted in the Kingdom so all our experiences can be used to come alongside people who are struggling in those areas.
The church needs now more than ever to be a ‘paracletic’ community, to be a hospital for broken people to get well. The church has historically reached out to the broken and provided pastoral care. Think of the Salvation Army, the Samaritans, Relate, Alcoholics Anonymous, the hospice movement, YMCA, chaplaincy services etc etc ALL began with Christians getting involved in the community reaching out to broken people with the love of Christ.
Ephesians 4 v1-3 from the Message
‘I want you to get out there and walk – better yet, run – on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline – not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love’.