Pilgrim Groups

The spiritual disciplines create a path from our physical world into the new world of the Kingdom of God, a world which is breaking in around us. On this path, we learn to think about and respond rightly to God. We open space in our lives to become aware of God interacting with us. We begin to see his beauty unfolding in and around us, and His work accomplished through us. This is the pilgrimage we are presently undertaking.
This Village journey has several objectives: first, to further develop community within the Village. Pilgrim Groups are a specific discipleship structure of the Village, and we ask that people who participate in them be active participants in the community, attending worship services at the Village and so forth during their time in the Pilgrim Group. Within this context, the Pilgrim Group is designed for the practice of some of the disciplines of the faith together (these may vary depending on the topic & structure of the particular study & group); to discuss our sexuality in healthy ways; to confess sin, pray for each other, and experience healing; to develop leaders (if you are part of a Pilgrim Group, you should expect to lead one in the future); to grow in knowledge and application of the Bible; and finally, to further the discussion of our vocation in the Kingdom of God.

The Discussion…
In response to another person’s sharing, group members should refrain from giving advice or telling their own stories as a way of instruction. This is a time to pursue one another by asking open-ended questions and practicing active listening. Try to use clarifying statements like, “What do you mean by _____?” or, “Tell me more about _____.” Instead of offering answers to people’s problems, consider praying together with the laying on of hands as a default solution.

The Confession…
Confession is about our struggle to live “in the world but not of the world.” This may include admitting to overt sins, but it may just as well be telling other people about our worldly patterns of thought that need to be transformed (Romans 12:1-2). Any way of thought or action that is not based on God’s goodness and the life to which He calls us is fair game for confession. This should be followed by people praying for the confessee, as in James 5:16 and 1 John 1:9. God wants to renew our minds, and He does this when we ask in prayer. Sometimes areas of sin in our life seem subtle, or we hold them in denial, so conversation in your pilgrim group may also include helping guide someone toward seeing their own hidden sin and the impact it has. We need to be open to the voices of people in our community as they gently point out areas that need to be healed.

Discussing Sexuality…
As we consider our stories and tell each other about the experiences which have shaped us, our sexuality may be an evident force. God has designed us as sexual beings. Sexuality, however, which He created for good, has been twisted and abused in the dark world around us. We are each in the process of growing into wholeness in this area of our lives. Some of us struggle with addictions to pornography, some have long histories of sexual abuse, some have lived sexually impure lives, and most of us struggle to reconcile the worldly messages about sexuality with our own bodies, desires, and experiences. As we seek to better understand God’s view of sexuality and to become more comfortable with our sexual selvesin Christ, it is important for us to create a safe space for each other where we can head toward the freedom from shame which God offers. Please honor sensitive conversations with appropriate confidentiality as well as gentle, active listening.

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