Raise The Sails: Start new groups
They go by different names—small groups, care groups, discipleship groups, grace groups, breakout groups. Whatever they are called, the basic idea is the same: a small gathering of people interested in spiritual growth. Small groups foster close relationships and integral community; they enable people to participate in focused prayer for one another. Small groups provide a comfortable atmosphere for openness and provide a source of encouragement and accountability.
Something To Talk About:
You can’t do what God has called you to do alone. Learn how God has designed you for relationships, and how small groups are important to growing in your friendships and in your faith. The key to happiness isn’t independence, it’s interdependence.
- I don’t think it matters. You can attend large churches in almost every city. Now, if the Church is a relational community of Christ-followers, how does someone build relationships with thousands of other people? A small group of believers would be a more natural size for a faith community? In the book of Acts, the church actually started “large,” with three thousand baptized in the first service. At the same time, Luke (the author of Acts) tells us that the church met regularly in people’s homes, had meals together, and hung out frequently with each other. Throughout history, small groups of believers banded together for worship, teaching, fellowship, service, and often food. In these small groups, believers developed closer relationships, developed spirituality, developed leaders, enriching each other’s lives as Christians and develop their faith. Life is busy with our families, careers, and the long list of tasks we are responsible for. Committing to a small group may often fall at the bottom of one’s list of priorities for a variety of reasons. You may wonder if being part of a small group is worth it. But, as we journey through life, and especially when we face battles, having fellow Christians to support us in prayer and presence can make all the difference. A small group can be the shoulder to lean on, or the hand to hold when we’re going through a difficult situation or need biblical counsel. God is our source and strength, and He oftentimes uses other believers to bring us renewed hope and peace when times are tough. Small groups matter.
- I don’t think I can: The last two years have raised some questions. Questions range from theology to unknowns we face in the future. It is easy to find ourselves in the midst of our questions, and even doubts, not feeling very rooted or grounded in our faith. Our position often becomes I don’t think I can. Community was a core value in the early church and an expression of what it meant to follow Jesus. From the very beginning, believers were gathering in their homes and gathering in community. – “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..” (Acts 2:42) All of us are members of the body of Christ, none of us is the body by ourselves. Together we make up the body and need one another. “The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:12) Friendship is a vital value of the Christian faith. Our relationships are so important that we can’t not have them. “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” (Proverbs 13:20) If you want to see where you will be in 5 years, show me your closest friendships. We desperately need strong Christian relationships that motivate us to do good works, make us laugh and have fun, and serve God together. Small groups offer a place to connect with Jesus, grow in your understanding of your identity in Christ, serve others and find meaningful connection through community. It’s there that we can truly thrive and become the people God created us to be. Given all that, it is not wise not to be a member of a small group.
- Why do we need other people to watch over us and speak into our lives?
- How have you been blessed by a small group or a similar ministry in the past?
- In what ways have small groups been a help to you in your Christian life?
- What are you most looking forward to in this semester of small group?
- How can small groups help us love one another in transparency, accountability, and mutual edification. Why is it important for believers to strive for this kind of community with one another?
- Christian community is both a restorative work of God in the gospel and a response of believers to that work. What does that mean?
- Read Hebrews 10:19-25. How is God’s restorative work in the gospel described? What should believers respond toward that work?
- How might God be speaking to you about discovering and developing real friends in this particular season of your life? What does that look like?
- What do you believe that God is telling you to do as a result of what you heard and discussed in small groups this week?
Take one thing home with you:
If God practiced the idea of community, then so shall we. It is that simple. Small groups and community within the church are nothing new; they are seen in the wake of the early church as well as a resurgence in recent years. If we turn to the Scriptures, the book of Acts documents the start of small groups. ( Acts 2:42-47) Very clearly we can see that the early church was the first fully functioning small group.
Small groups have the power to radically change lives. I have heard so many stories that attest to that fact. Stories about where people experienced true family rather than just a group of acquaintances, because they truly cared for each other, took time to lift needs up in prayer, and welcomed them into their family. This is the power of small groups. They have the power to bring someone back to the feet of Jesus and revitalize a walk with Him. It’s in small groups with other believers where we can truly wrestle with our questions, fears, and even doubts. In these intimate settings, we often realize that we are not alone.