Jesus’s social vision was a world where people take responsibility for taking care of other people. Each part of the good news he shared with the poor—survival, resistance, liberation, restoration, and transformation—depends on community. We can’t fully follow Jesus’s teachings outside of community. HeartGroups are spaces where we can practice what Jesus taught together.
We’re connected to one another. Society and social structures teach us that we are independent and should be self-reliant, but we’re part of one another. We’re dependent on each other and our communities are equally interdependent. We are each other’s fate.
Most HeartGroups meet weekly or monthly for a time of sharing, discussion, and exploration of Jesus’s teachings and how they apply to our lives today. Discussion can center on social events, a book the group is reading, a topic group members choose, or one of the many HeartGroup Applications that Renewed Heart Ministries publishes each week. In HeartGroups we learn from each other.
Mutual Aid & Resource Sharing
HeartGroups are more than places for spiritual communion. They also have an economic component: Jesus’ shared table was about following him, not just worshiping him and so the church of the book of Acts aimed to eliminate poverty among their members with mutual aid and resource-sharing (Acts 4:34).
HeartGroups affirm that part of being connected to each other is belonging to a community where members can be helped when down and out and they can also help others. Each group chooses for itself whether to branch out and help those outside its group too.
Jesus called us to embrace the belief that there is enough to share. Our voluntary sharing replaces anxiety with gratitude, generosity, connectedness, community, and hospitality. Rather than monopolies and exploitation, “enough for everyone” brings with it a distributive justice and replaces violence with peace.
Our hope for the future is not in more efficiently exercising power over others, but in more effectively serving and taking care of each other. HeartGroups imitate the shared table that Jesus modeled for his disciples in the gospels. In these groups, we sit together as equals. Our differences are celebrated, not demonized. HeartGroups are non-homogenous groups where every voice matters and we learn from each other. HeartGroup sharing is open and participatory. These are not places where the same person does all the talking each week while everyone else sits and listens. Each person is believed to have something of value to contribute to the group as a whole.
We believe that every voice matters and that every person’s story matters. We’re interested in a world where people who have power and resources share with those who are meek. Those we fail to include at our shared table are often also excluded in the larger society, and no world we create will be a safe, compassionate, just home for people we don’t include or value.
Gathering times for HeartGroups are by design a time of sharing life together. We share our joys and our struggles. We share how each of us experiences the world around us, and we attempt to integrate these diverse experiences into a meaningful and coherent whole.
Inclusivity does not mean “anything goes.” Allowing even respectful disagreement over whether another person should exist is not “creating safe space.” Our inclusivity excludes bigotry, fear, and insecurity regarding our differences. In the rare event that someone may be excluded, the group must measure whether this exclusion is rooted in fear of that which is different or truly supports group safety.
HeartGroups gather in informal community gathering places such as living rooms and local coffee shops. They center their values and ethics in the experiences of those on the undersides and margins of our societies. Wherever they’re located, HeartGroups will be informed by the sayings and teachings of the historical Jewish Jesus of Nazareth and help each other lean more deeply into the practice of these teachings.
Each week we offer optional activities for HeartGroups through our eSights and weekly podcast. If you would like more information on how to start a HeartGroup of your own or to find an already existing HeartGroup in your area, please contact us:
or call us at:
“Renewed Heart Ministries has been the most powerful positive influence our lives. We have been privileged to have been able to witness first hand the inside
life of a family who puts words into action. The ministry as a whole has indeed renewed our hearts and opened our eyes to a God more wonderful than
we could ever have hoped for or imagined. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for your guidance in our perspective on life's important issues. You are responsible
for the freedom we now enjoy as we live our lives with new eyes to make an immediate difference in the world around us. We love you all very deeply
and miss you tremendously.”
— W. & J. K.; HeartGroup, Oahu Chapter
Learning about Heart Groups and then getting to help start one has been an amazing journey. Meeting weekly as a Heart Group has allowed me (and others) the opportunity to learn about God in a more relaxed and comfortable arena compared to a more traditional church setting. I feel safe to share my questions, struggles, and blessings because I know we are all learning together. I like the idea of "doing church" like Jesus did, with a mutual exchange of ideas and learning. No one person is superior to another, we just live life together, and it's great! — L.D.