“Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” – 1 John 2:5.

Roy asked us a simple yet difficult question this week: “How can we we better follow Jesus.” I would like to ask a question as well. One that will help us answer Roy’s question. “Are you more like Jesus this year, than you were last year?”   

We are well into 2015. What changes have we made to better our relationship with God this year? And as we approach 2016 what changes do we need to make in 2016?  If we simply maintain the status quo year after year, we can expect to get the same results and we will not improve our relationship with God. And that is not what God wants. Ephesians 4:13 tells us “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”  We are to become mature and Christ like and to grow up into Christ.

One of our goals in life should be to be more like Jesus. Max Lucado begins and ends his book, Just Like Jesus, with these words: “God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be just like Jesus.”  We want to me more like Jesus and Jesus wants us to be more like Him. So what needs to change?

As Roy talked about on Sunday one of the things that help improve our relationship with Jesus is joining a Northstar Group. Small groups are vital to the health of a local church. But there are many people who believe that going to Sunday services is sufficient. Now I love Sunday morning corporate worship. But corporate gatherings alone is not sufficient, spiritually. Yes, you heard the pastor say that. I believe every Christian needs to be a a small as well as a large community such as church services. The times in my life when I was most alive spiritually have been the times when I wiped away the veneers and removed the mask and did life with other believers.  Let’s look at why we need church and Northstar Groups.

It’s easy to hide in a large gathering and difficult in a small group. If we want to improve our relationship with Jesus, hiding will not help us achieve the goal. Involvement with other believers is the opposite of hiding.  Sermons are sharing information and are mostly passive, while small group involvement gets you engaged and active. There is little accountability in Sunday services. Accountability should be part of every small group.  On Sunday, if we are hurting physically or spiritually, there’s nobody to ask us, “What’s going on?” If your hurting in a small group, you are surrounded by people who care.  The problem becomes become everyone’s problem. That’s because you have a relationship with them. you have a relationship with them.

Sunday worship services don’t lend themselves to discussions that help with understanding and application. Small groups ask hard questions and allow for discovery. Learning isn’t simply about transferring information. It’s about interacting with that information. Learning involves poking and prodding and finding the areas that you need to change to improve your walk with Jesus with others who have your best interests at heart.  And finally, it is rare to pray for specific needs in a Sunday worship setting. Small groups pray for the specific needs of their group members. Not just generic, Have you ever heard someone verbally pray for you, specifically? If so, then you know what it’s like to feel genuinely loved.

Now I don’t want you to read this article and come to the conclusion that Pastor Marty wants us to skip Sunday services and go a small group.  I believe you need both. Each can contribute to building your relationship with God.

Discussion Questions:

  1. In what ways can a small group help your walk with God today?
  2. Why is it important that a Christian be part of a small group with other Christians sharing the Word of God?
  3. Read I Corinthians 12:12-27. What does these verses mean to you in the area of small groups?
  4. What should the goal of you small group be? Pray and ask God to direct you to a small group that you and others will benefit from.