Small groups (also known as Community Groups, Life Groups, Missional Groups, Connect Groups, etc. etc. etc.) are on the table this week for discussion.
The guys sit down and hammer out what these groups are (not all are the same!), the role they play in the life of the local church, and how they help God's people live out the calling God has placed on them.
God doesn't call us to a spiritual island; he calls us to community (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Small groups help us mature in Christ (Colossians 1:28).
Small groups provide an avenue for God's people to live out the "one another" statements in Scripture*:
1 John 4:11, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” This is the great overarching, all inclusive command to care for each other with love.
Romans 15:7, “Welcome one another (or accept one another) as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Our lives and our groups should be welcoming places.
1 Corinthians 12:25, “. . . that the members may have the same care for one another.”
1 Peter 4:10, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” He who would be great becomes the servant of all.
Ephesians 5:21, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:15, “Always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.”
Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted.”
Hebrews 10:25, “. . . not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”Being in each other’s lives with encouragement is going to be especially needed in the last days. Form the habit now lest you be taken off guard.
Hebrews 10:24, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to loveand good works.” Who of us cannot trace much of our own passions for radical Christian living to other Christians who have stirred us up?
Hebrews 3:13, “Exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” God has ordained that his word not just come to us directly from the Bible but indirectly from the Bible through people. This is why the Bible says that the mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life (Proverbs 10:11).
Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom.” “Admonish” has a bit of an edge to it, and that is sometimes necessary among people who love each other.
Ephesians 5:19, “Address one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart.” Many hymns and worship songs are sung directly to the Lord. But even when they are, we are doing it together and we hear each other and that is God’s will for us—that we minister to each other in song. This happens in large gatherings and in small groups and families.
Romans 15:5, “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in . . . harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus.”
2 Corinthians 13:11, “Comfort one another.” Oh, the preciousness of a small group in times of loss and grief. How many personal and practical ways we have seen them comfort each other.
Romans 15:14, “You yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.” As you are filled with more and more knowledge about God and his ways, you begin to instruct one another. Who of us is ever beyond the need for others to instruct us? God does not mean for us to merely be alone without Bibles, but to share what we learn.
Romans 12:10, “Outdo one another in showing honor.”
Colossians 3:13, “Bear with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other.” Love involves being patient with each others flaws. It covers a multitude of sins.
Colossians 3:13, “Forgive each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Not just bear with flaws, but actually let real offenses go, and don’t store them up and brood over them.
James 5:16, “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” Few things are more humbling and more healing than when you confess your sin to others. That is the level of trust we want in our small groups.
1 Peter 4:9, “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
Get involved. By joining a small group you allow others to build into you and you're able to build into others.
Learn to struggle with other believers. No small group is going to be perfect because it's filled with imperfect people. Don't give up on your group because someone annoys you.
Rejoice. Although small groups are hard, we believe you'll find them to be well worth it and ultimately a great joy.
*Verses sourced from Desiring God.