Friends Following Jesus Together

At Highlands Fellowship, we are imperfect people embracing imperfect people to experience life with Jesus. #OurMission

After hearing clearly from God, we defined the mission and vision of Highlands and looked closely at the systems and structures we have in place to make that mission and vision a reality. The essence of what we are called to do is to lead people to experience life with Jesus and that's we seek to do at Highlands.

As we began to dig deeper into what it looks like to “experience life with Jesus,” we couldn’t get away from the fact that there is a rhythm to the way Jesus lived as he walked the earth. This rhythm is made up of three movements. There is an “Up” rhythm, an “In” rhythm and an “Out” rhythm. (Click here to check out the video.)

Mission and Vision Graphic

The essence of this “Up” rhythm is Communion with God. When we look at the Gospels, we see that Jesus first invites a few people to follow him. Jesus invited the disciples into a personal relationship with himself. As we look at creation, we see that God created humanity to have a relationship with himself. We are created to live in communion with God. As we have communion with God, we get a glimpse of what it looks like to live life the way God intended.
The second movement we see in the Rhythm of Jesus’ life is an inward movement toward community. From the very beginning, God said that it is not good for man to be alone. We thrive in community. Jesus invited the disciples into a circle of friends, and this circle of friends learned together what it meant to “follow Jesus.” If Jesus had wanted us to keep our faith personal and private, we wouldn’t see him bring together a circle of friends. We see this circle of friends throughout the book of Acts. We recognize that, by and large, the circle of friends you surround yourself with almost literally determines your experience of life; they strongly influence who you become.
This third movement is one of Co-mission with the Holy Spirit and our circle of friends. When Jesus sent the apostles/disciples out into the world to share the gospel, he did so in community - He didn’t send them out alone. There are two key elements to this “Out” rhythm, the Holy Spirit and our circle of friends.
As we look at the Rhythms Jesus modeled for us, it becomes clear that every follower of Christ needs to have a ‘Circle.’ A circle is a few friends following Jesus together.

As we see in the early church, this circle of friends got together regularly, had conversation around what they were learning in the temple courts, gained support and received help from each other. We see that these Circles helped them grow in their spiritual walk and gave them strength to take into the world. As we follow the model that Jesus left for us, it is our desire for all Highlanders to connect with a Circle of Friends who follow Jesus together. 

What's a Circle? 
Think of it this way, if someone asks you “who’s in your circle?” you automatically think of the friends and family closest to you, the ones you count on. Both Jesus and the believers who made up the early church reveal to us the value of a circle of friends. These are the people see the real you, the good, the bad and the ugly. Your people encourage, support and challenge you to live each day more like Jesus. Like the early church, your circle will be encouraged to gather according to the natural rhythms of life. Your circle may commit to gather on a set day or time, while others may decide to be more flexible. The key is to commit to support, encourage, and inspire each other to follow the teachings of Jesus and share his love with others.

Why should I connect with a Circle? 
There are five benefits that come from being connected with a circle. You will….
Mission and Vision Graphic
• Know God more fully. (worship)
• Know and be known by others. (fellowship)
• Grow spiritually. (discipleship)
• Give care and support to others while finding care and support yourself. (ministry)
• Take hope into your community. (evangelism)

Who you surround yourself with matters. Your closest circle of friends will determine your experience with life and even your destiny.

“Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for ‘bad company corrupts good character.’” -1 Corinthians 15:33

How often should you gather with your Circle? 
A Circle of friends gathers within the natural rhythms of life. To have healthy relationships within your circle, it will take time. The more time invested to develop relationships, the stronger they become. In one season of life, your Circle may choose to gather once a week, while in another season you may gather once or twice a month. The natural rhythms of life will dictate the frequency and activity for your circle.

For more info or questions about Circles, click here.

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