Doing Life Together in Small Groups
It was John Donne who said, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, part of the main.” Christians don’t make very good islands. We need older, more mature Christians to help us grow in our faith. We need people who will listen, who will empathize, who understand what we are going through. We need people who model a life of faith and dependence on God. The moment you began your relationship with Jesus Christ, you also began a relationship with other Christians. You are now part of God’s family, and in God’s family there are no orphans. God did not intend for His children to live as individual islands of faith, but rather as a community of believers, interrelated with each other and part of something much bigger than themselves. We were meant to do life together.
Something To Talk About:
One of the best ways to do life together is through participation in small groups. Through that participation lives are changed. Small groups are more than just a group of acquaintances. It is a family that will pray and care for you in your Christian walk. Small groups have the power to bring someone back to the feet of Jesus and revitalize a walk with Him.
- What’s wrong with being a lone wolf? We live in an individualistic culture. We rely on ourselves. There are people today who attend church, but remain distant and on the margins. The problem with being a lone wolf is that they have nobody to rely on when they are struggling or in need. But here’s the thing, when a lone wolf is not connected to others in the body, it not only robs people of the opportunity to help them, it also robs them of the joy of deeper relationships and community. 1 Corinthians 12:25 says, “This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other.” Verse 26 adds, “If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.” In other words, people want to share your burdens because God wired us this way. It’s in our spiritual DNA to care about and care for each other as one body. Though society might tell us that we can do life on our own, God’s word tells us that we simply can’t function without each other.
- Better together: Not only were we created to be in community but we also need community. There is spiritual safety in numbers. We need godly brothers and sisters to watch our back. We need to be connected in community where we can all be on alert together for the dangers that are all around us. The truth is, we need each other. We need to trust, rely on, and depend upon other believers. God gave us each other to walk alongside, encourage, and spur one another in the faith. The writer to the Hebrews says, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25). James 5:16 says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” We are to share each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), help each other (Romans 12:13), and be happy with those who are happy and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). We are simply better together.
- Do you believe your walk with God is a community project? Why or why not?
- What does Christian community mean to you? In what ways have you personally taken the gift of Christian community for granted?
- God uses people and community to help us grow in our faith. Discuss how this works in everyday life?
- Is there anything that a small group can do to help improve your relationship with God that you can’t do individually?
- Paul writes that we are being “built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:22 NIV) How does this idea change our relationship with the Christian community?
- What gifts from God have you received by being part of a Christian community?
- What are the obstacles to joining a small group in your mind?
- What can you do this week to overcome those obstacles and join a small group.
Take one thing home with you:
Our walk with God is a community project. Real Christian change is often a byproduct of being in community with other believers. In today’s culture, community can be counter intuitive, but the Bible teaches that it’s mandatory to a life of faith. God has not called us to live in isolation as believers. He unites us to Christ and places us within a community of faith where we influence one another in profound ways. Paul urges us to be a united community: “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.” (Ephesians 4:2–4).