“ And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – Romans 12:1-2.
The consumer mentality that is so prevalent in society today has influenced or even changed our view of community. We can easily focus on what we are going to get out of going to church or participating in a small group rather than what God is going to do in us and through us because of our involvement in community. We need each other to help us know the truth about who we are, who God is, and how we can live a home run life. “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend,” reminds us that the relationships we form within our small groups can become a tool for God to use in our character transformation. (Proverbs 27:17)
It is in small groups that people get to know each other and then to care and share, to challenge and support, to confide and confess, to forgive and be forgiven, to laugh and weep together. It is in small groups that individuals can grow together with others. Personal growth does not happen automatically or in isolation. It is the result of interactive relationships. Small groups are one of the ways God uses to generate spiritual growth.
We are so used to technology that we believe we are better connected than ever before. But even though social media and other technology have made our world appear more connected, people have far more virtual or digital friends than genuine friends. It is far easier to stay on the surface and interact on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn than to invest in knowing other people at a deep level. Yet when we take the risk of being authentic with a small group of people, we can experience God’s grace and love coming through others in a way social media or technology will never match.
The goal of small groups is to create environments where Spirit-driven, life changing experiences can happen. While the type of group or study is important, the real benefits of a small group are found in simply doing life together. The objective of a small group is to help people engage in relationships that help them become more like Christ, by building relationships with other believers.
- When you think of small groups what is the first thing that comes to mind? Has your impression or view of small groups changed over time? If so, how?
- Do you feel as connected as you need to be with other believers? If not, why not?
- What do you see as your responsibility to other believer’s growth?