VidaGPS Groups: Antidote to the National Loneliness Epidemic
It’s undeniable: The rapidly growing number of studies are providing the scientific data that shows humans were wired to live in connection. Over the past 20 years, what public health officials have deemed to be the loneliness epidemic has been rising at an alarming rate. A growing body of scientific studies shows the human experience of loneliness results in a disturbing array of negative psychological and physiological health effects.
Besides feeling incredibly isolated, people who suffer from moderate to intense loneliness are more likely to suffer from poor sleep, cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, reduced immunity and inflammation. In one of the most recent published study on loneliness in the online journal International Psychogeriatrics (Dec. 18, 2018), Dilip V. Jeste and his team of researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine asked 340 people between the ages of 27 and 101 about feelings of isolation and used several measures, including the well-established UCLA Loneliness Scale. Loneliness was more prevalent than expected. Seventy-five percent of study participants reported moderate to high levels of loneliness. Our highly lonely society could be ripe for accepting an invitation to a small Bible-based life group that offers hope, connections, inclusion and fellowship.
It’s time to CONNECT to VidaGPS Movement
Holy Spirit-driven, home-based missional-discipleship groups are nothing new! They follow the biblical, Acts 2 model of spiritual community as the center for the multiplication of disciple-making disciples. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42).
We praise God for the hundreds of NPUC Hispanic church members who have accepted the invitation to open their homes and/or to become group leaders as they’ve registered with the online VidaGPS Small Group Movement. This is not just one more “evangelistic program.” It's an invitation to join a sustainable, Spirit-driven, Acts 2, “missional movement” that will not only continue to grow toward the present goal of 10,000 new VidaGPS small groups in 2019 but will continue to multiply until the Second Coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
We are pleased to report that VidaGPS groups have been starting up all over our North Pacific Union Conference. The North American Division has designed a user-friendly, national website that offers what will be an ongoing flow of small group leadership materials so all group leaders in North America will have a steady, balanced array of spiritual growth and discipleship lessons covering biblically based spiritual, emotional, mental and physical health needs.
If the Spirit is moving you to open your home to a VidaGPS group, or you feel called to become a group leader, please contact your pastor, who was given an access code to register you and your new group on the www.Vidagps.org website. Once registered you will be able to access your group materials as well as the upcoming online series this April 12–19, 2019, as evangelist Alejandro Bullón holds a reaping series. This is a first-ever, actual home-based VidaGPS group, from which he will broadcast to all the registered groups around the North American Division. We invite you to join what the Spirit is already doing and consider joining the VidaGPS missional-group movement.
César De León, North Pacific Union Conference vice president for Hispanic ministries, ministerial, multiethnic ministries, family life and men’s ministries, with Carolann De León, North Pacific Union Conference family life and Hispanic ministries assistant director