Sunday, February 1, 2009

Is a Small Group right for you?

You've probably heard about Small Groups and may have wondered how good a fit it would be for you? Have you ever been a part of a small group? Of course you have! If you've ever played a team sport, been a Boy Scout or Girl Scout, been a member of a club or a Sunday School class, then you've been in a Small Group. Why do you think that is? You and I are made for relationships, a relationship with God and relationships with others. Isn't that what Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-39 NIV when asked, "What is the greatest commandment?"
I've been involved in Small Group ministry for more than a dozen years and wouldn't trade the experience for anything. Of course, there are other meaningful venues for teaching and growing spiritually but Small Groups can add another important dimension. One Small Group model that I've found successful is built around a familiar passage of scripture describing the early church (Acts 2:42 NIV). The key components are sharing a meal together, fellowship (a church word for a social relationship), Bible study and prayer. Small Groups frequently meet in homes or other off-church-campus locations and often meet for 90 minutes to 2 hours. Although the Small Group that I currently lead is not incorporating the meal component right now, I'm a firm believer that there are things that happen around a dinner table that seldom take place elsewhere. That's where a group of people can really begin to share life together and growing spiritually is more than growing in Bible knowledge. We grow to look more like Jesus as we invest ourselves in the lives of others and allow them to invest in us.
It's true that most Small Groups take accountability and transparency to another level. Both of those are born out of trust and Small Groups are an environment that fosters trust and growth. Sound risky? Sure . . . growth is always risky but if you really want to grow spiritually, you have to be willing to take some risks. I may explore this topic in more detail in future posts but, for now, I'd like to hear about your experiences with or reservations about Small Groups. Use the comments section below to enter the conversation.

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