The Ties that Bind

TIE groups are starting at Restoration.  Hopefully that isn’t news to you—we’ve tried not to be subtle.  If you haven’t heard, TIE stands for Three Is Enough, and it’s our version of small discipleship groups.

I’ve known probably every type of small group; I’ve been a part of plenty over the years.  But this month I began a new one with some of my brothers at Restoration.  As we talked about what the group should be about, there was a lot of talk about accountability.  Openness and confession are good habits for the soul and to live without that sort of authenticity is to open yourself up to some of sin’s most destructive effects.

And there is the sense of community that we hope to cultivate, a shared sense of mission in the world, a healthy entanglement in what’s going on in one another’s lives.  After all, this relationship shouldn’t be purely academic and abstracted from the experiencing the love and service of everyday friendship.

But sitting there with them, I was glad to have the sense that there was more than this.  We talked about renewing our love for scripture, challenging one another to read widely.  We talked about the very different phases of life we were in, and the joy of escaping the echo chambers our own situations can become.  We also talked about a desire to become more like Christ and affirmed together that, well, that’s not so easy to understand among the common and mundane experiences of our lives.

Frankly, there’s a New Year’s sense of endless possibility to all this, as if I’ve just signed up for a gym membership or something.  But I am reminding myself that this isn’t that.  Starting a TIE group not a resolution nor a self-help plan.  This is a long process of formation that will show as many scars as successes.  There won’t be any three month ‘before and after’ pictures of our souls.

That’s why I’m so looking forward to this season at Restoration.  We will be sending out lots of resources and recommendations for TIE groups to launch and sustain themselves.  We will be preaching on spiritual disciplines and developing habits of holiness in our lives.  And we are not far from Lent, a season that calls us not just to let go of something, but also to take up something as well.  I’m glad that I get to share this season with my brothers, not merely because they are my friends, but because—as I’ve learned from long experience—I desperately need them if I am to become more like Christ.

 

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