March 23, 2016
A church can be as big or small as you want it to be. I speak with people on a regular basis who attend church services without feeling connected in a personal way. Many of these individuals sit in a worship center with hundreds or thousands of other people, so they have a difficult time making significant personal connections. Church is a big place for these individuals and families. They see their church experience through the lens of a large mass rather than a small group. Unfortunately, many people miss out on the essential benefits of being involved in a smaller group of believers.
Hebrews 10:23-25 states, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Let’s consider three important dynamics of small group involvement:
Everyone needs some type of community in their lives. You and I need people around us so that we can share life together. Even if you consider yourself a quiet and socially awkward person, you still need people and community. Moreover, other people need you! A small group provides an opportunity for you to meet new people, learn their stories, and establish life-long friendships that edify and encourage.
Bible teaching is a foundational part of any small group that is focused on spiritual growth, but small groups also provide an environment where you can ask questions and have great discussions about a wide range of biblical topics. Most pastors do not allow people to ask questions or speak out during their sermons (for good reason!). Small groups are a way for you to study, learn, and grow in ways that you cannot do on your own or in a large group context.
The church is full of people with different life experiences, and many times we never have the opportunity to share our story or to hear the stories of those around us. The Lord has given a testimony to every Christ follower, and small groups are a way for you and others to share the joy of Christ by telling these stories. You may never know who needs to hear what you have experienced and how the Lord brought you through it. The Lord has taught me many things from other people who were willing to open up and share their stories in a small group setting. You encourage others by sharing your story of God’s faithfulness, and you are encouraged by learning about God’s faithfulness and provision in the lives of others. Proverbs 27:27 says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
Life can be very busy for all of us, but we must understand that God saved us into Christian community. Small groups are the best place to find meaningful community and encouragement; therefore, challenge yourself to meet regularly with other Christians who will help you to learn and to grow. I have no doubt that once you’re involved in a small group, you will discover they make a big impact!