What's the Big Deal About Small Groups?
Mar 14 2:47 PM

What's the Big Deal About Small Groups?

Mar 14 2:47 PM
Mar 14 2:47 PM

Chances are that if you have been a part of small group before, you have an opinion about their effectiveness in helping you live out the Christian life. Hopefully most of you have had a positive experience in the past. If you have never been involved in one, then what are you waiting for? It can be a challenge to overcome the perceived obstacles in your way.  Who will watch my kids?  Are my kids welcome? I’m single, who will welcome me? I’m too old. I’m too shy. I don’t have time. I don’t want to be judged. They are more spiritual than me. I’m way more spiritual than them. I will not be accepted, and so on. Will you allow me to at least cause you to pause to consider whether now is the time to join a small group, Bible study or community group?

I can certainly draw support from Scripture in encouraging you to become part of a small group. In Acts 2 we are told that the people who heard the gospel message from Peter and were then “cut to the heart” asked him what they should do. He responded to them by telling them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. Luke then describes how this group of three thousand new believers were led by the Holy Spirit to interact with one another, to fellowship with one another. It says of them, “they broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.” (Acts 2:46b-47) Consider this, three thousand new believers were somehow organized by the Holy Spirit into small groups that were accommodated in each other’s homes. 

Community groups are really this simple, they are a gathering of some of you all, for the benefit of all you all, to the praise of the God who is sovereign over all. Community groups are a vibrant expression of the interconnectedness of God’s people. They provide an opportunity for us to create a bond of Christian brotherhood in the sharing of trials, sufferings, joys, laughs, celebrations and, oh yea- there’s food. And did I mention that all of this is done under the canopy of God’s Word? God’s Word is the sustaining and overarching foundation of why we gather.  In some ways, He reveals Himself to us more completely as we hear other’s accounts of how He is working in us and through us. And then there’s accountability- community groups can offer an opportunity to be corrected in our errant thinking by others who are observing how we apply God’s Word to our every day life. 

There are many more benefits that come from being part of a community group, none are more obvious than being able to exercise the spiritual gifts of hospitality and teaching. And even just as important is the opportunity to pray for one another. My most recent personal experience attests to the great comfort and peace that God grants to us as His people are united in prayer on our behalf. 

As I recall the many ways in which I have recently seen God work through those of you involved in community groups, some stand out. I love the way you supported and gently comforted a dear mother who lost her son. It has been amazing to me to witness the move of the Holy Spirit in the life of a dear brother who trusted God to give him a heart of compassion for the homeless. Some of you have seen how this man’s, this couple’s persistent and patient obedience to our Lord have opened an opportunity for the gospel in the life of one of the least of these, one among the many homeless in our community.

And finally, community groups can provide the opportunity to become committed to the local body. William Boekstein makes the observation that “many churches have a number of guests or occasional visitors “orbiting” the church; they are considering landing but not sure if or how they can. Small groups can provide a way for those who are trying- or considering whether they would like to try- to break into the life of the church.” 

Whether you are “orbiting” or firmly planted, it is our hope that you connect with a group of like-minded individuals in our body that you can consistently live the Christian life with. Towards that end, we have a number of community groups and small group Bible studies that you can join.  Or maybe, you are at a point where you are sensing God’s direction to start a new small group.  If that is the case, we would love to help you get started. 



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