“All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper, and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.” – Acts 2:42-47.
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 great picture of the early church. These believers engaged in life together through teaching, fellowship, communion, prayer, miracles, radical generosity, and corporate worship. They spent time together learning, celebrating, proclaiming the Good News, and supporting each other.
God never intended for us to live the Christian life alone. How can we apply the 59 “one another” references in scripture unless we are in intentional, close relationships with each other? God calls us to love, not in a casual way, but in a deep, face-to-face, life-on-life, transformative way. One of the best ways to generate those types of relationships is in small groups.
Today small groups give us an opportunity – no matter how “big” the church gets in our gatherings – to be “small” together. But for the Acts church, it was a way of life. Their relationships with one another were critical to their pursuit of and growth in Christ. In those times there was no other way to experience biblical community. Then as now, small groups were and are an integral part of “being” the church and not just “doing” church. Small Groups are a great way to connect with others. They provide supportive and encouraging environments where you can build lasting friendships and take the next step in your spiritual growth.
Take a moment to think about the people God has given you. Think about your friends and family. Think about those around you at church you feel close to. What would life be like if you were all alone? What would your hardships have been like if you absolutely had no one to endure them with? Small groups can be wonderfully eclectic made up of a variety of ordinary people navigating their way through this life together. Each week you are able to get together with other people to discuss scripture, personal experiences, goals, and give each other support.
It doesn’t take much time before you realize that it is was in the ordinariness and even the weaknesses of our shared lives that the presence of Jesus shines through.
- What does spiritual community mean to you?
- Have you participated in a small group? If not, what is holding you back?