“Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters.Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.“ – 1 Peter 3:8.
In what the news called “The Miracle at Quecreek,” nine miners in 2003 were trapped for three days 240 feet underground in a water-filled mine shaft. They decided early on that they were going to live or die as a group. The 55 degree water threatened to kill them slowly by hypothermia, so when one person would get cold, the other eight would huddle around the person and warm that person, and when another person got cold, the favor was returned. The miners said that when one person would get down, the rest pulled together and picked up that person. It was a team effort and according to the miners, the only way it could have been.
Those miners faced incredibly hostile conditions together—and they all came out alive together. What a picture of the body of Christ and what a picture of small groups.
When we look at the early church we get a picture of small communities of people who followed Jesus together. The Book of Acts, especially Acts 2:42-47, gives us a snapshot of the early church and community through meeting in homes. These early church believers did life together through teaching, fellowship, communion, prayer, miracles, and radical generosity. They spent time together eating, learning, celebrating, and supporting each other. Throughout the Bible, community is described as a place where people loved, forgave, served, bore burdens, encouraged, exhorted, and prayed. There are approximately 59 one another verses in the Bible.
God never intended for us to live the Christian life alone. How can we apply these “one another” references unless we are in intentional, close relationships with each other? God calls us to love, not in an abstract or superficial way, but in a deep, face to face, life-on-life, transformative way. And the best place to do that is in a small group.
Let me leave you with this thought. It is easy sometimes to look at small groups merely as a program. But it is so much more than that. It is a way of doing life with others. It is nearly impossible to experience biblical community apart from spiritually significant, intentional relationships with other believers.
“And as ridiculous as it may sound, sometimes all any of us needs in life is for someone to hold our hand and walk next to us.” – James Frey
- Do you view small groups as a luxury or a necessity? Why?
- What do you see as the most significant value of small groups?
- How much margin do you have in your life for this kind of shared life? What needs to go so you can create more margin?
- Consider joining a small group if you are not already participating in one.