I love to hear people say “I never saw it that way before” after a Redemption Group. Never saw their hearts with such clarity, never saw their sin with such conviction, never saw the gospel with such hope. That’s great insight—but it’s not change.
Recently, as I reviewed Paul Tripp’s book Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands for the umpteenth time as I prepared to highlight some key ideas in a training time, I stumbled onto an idea that grabbed me in a fresh way. Tripp says:
“Most of us are tempted to think that change has taken place before it actually has. We confuse growth in knowledge and insight with genuine life change. But insight is not change and knowledge should not be confused with practical, active, biblical wisdom.” Instruments, pg. 242.
Redemption Groups seem to be particularly effective at insight—shedding new light, opening blind eyes. But that’s really just the start of walking in a new direction. It’s that walking—by the Spirit, in the community that is his gift to us—that bears the fruit of change over time.
So I’ve been encouraged recently to hear how various pastors have been creatively connecting the off ramp of their Redemption Groups to the on ramps of their Community Groups, promoting long term change from the heart. These wise pastors recognize that Redemption Groups, as helpful as they are, must be tied in to a larger vision of community and discipleship.