Join a team…

Posted: March 15, 2012 in Leadership, Life, Me and God, Me and people, Parenting, The Bible, The Church

What do SEAL Team 6, The Georgia Bulldogs, and a Small Group Bible Study have in common? They are a team, a brotherhood of people united by a common interest and willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish their common goal together –at any cost.

I know for many the idea of joining a small group sounds scary, intimidating and even somehow threatening. Well, it is. It is not easy to join –and open yourself up to a group of people with whom you may or may not have things in common, maybe different ages and walks in life, different levels of maturity and life points of view.

However, it is also true that we all, Christians and non-Christians, long for deep relationships, true friendships, a support group to rely on and a team to walk alongside in the difficult paths of life. We all desire to belong, to be needed, and to have the help we need. We were created that way, “It is not good for man to be alone”. Nevertheless, in as much as we all need and deeply long for this type of relationships, and even if we are willing to step out of our comfort zone and seek it, oftentimes work and the business of life makes it more difficult to spend time with people in a significant and ongoing way. It takes time –a lot of time to create meaningful relationships

This is why I love and believe in small groups. I have had the privilege to meet men (and women in couple small groups) with whom I don’t have much in common and would not have a relationship with otherwise –and have had the privilege of being enriched by their influence in my life through a small group. I have also gotten to know people with whom I have a lot of things in common and a better understanding of each other’s lives, struggles and dreams.

It is at a small group that I’ve understood that many, like me, struggle with temptation, failures and weaknesses.
It is at a small group that I’ve seen people go from regular Sunday church goers to growing mature believers who put their Christianity into action as friends, husbands, fathers and citizens.
It is at a small group that I’ve seen guys ask the tough questions that can’t be asked on Sunday morning, and get clear Biblical applicable answers.
It is at a small group that I’ve seen timid sideline nominal Christians become active followers of Christ, disciple makers at their work place and leaders within the church.
It is at a small group that my marriage has been literally saved by true friends who confronted me and told me “you are wrong!, get a grip!”
It is at a small group that I’ve seen people go from ‘giving their personal opinion’ about life situations into ‘addressing issues with their now learned Biblical knowledge’ –applying Biblical truth to practical life.
It is at a small group that I’ve seen Christian-for-many-years people to actual experience ‘studying the Bible’ and say “wow, I never knew you could get so much from going deeper!”
It is at a small group, by studying a book of the Bible at a time, that I’ve seen normal guys understand the big picture of the Bible and how it all interconnects to itself and to our personal lives.
It is at a small group that I’ve seen friends coming together sacrificially and unconditionally, to help and support others in financial need, illness and tough difficulties of life.

It is true that you can hear God in your heart drawing you to salvation.
You can come together and make acquaintances with others on Sunday morning or with a sports team.
You can hear and learn about main stories and highlights from the Bible listening to a sermon.

However, it is at a small group that you can grow into who God wants to make you and reach your full potential.
It is at a small group that you can have true meaningful, productive, honest and challenging relationships.
it is at a small group that you can go from ‘listening’ or ‘reading’ the Bible to studying it, digging through it and understanding God’s plan in the big and personal pictures.

It takes courage, it takes effort, but undoubtedly, it pays off; Christian life, happens in small groups.

If you are part of a small group, how has it benefited you? If you are not, what keeps you from joining?

 

UPDATE August2012:
Graystone Church Online Small Groups sign-up’s: tinyurl.com/graystonesmallgroups

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Comments
  1. Jennifer Holt says:

    Fear of rejection. I know many people who dont want to join a community group because they think they are not “good enough christians” to be part of a group. Unfortunately i can see why, sometimes we give this image that we have it all figured out…

    • That is true. an evident solution is to be open about each ones’s failures to debunk that “I am perfect” image -specially leaders. That can be a very rewarding and freeing but hard thing to do. Good point.

  2. Jay E says:

    I read an interesting blog about why small groups dont work or people dont join them any more. In a nutshell, the writter mentions that people and ministries grow disapinted bwcause they seek the wrong goal. Small groups are NOT primarily to create relationships, do discipleship or acts of service. Instead, he argues, “It is only through joining with a group of radical believers that I can live out my purpose on earth”; “The point of small groups should be to rally around a cause” -and finnally, “Your small group shouldn’t just change you, or change your friends; your small group should rock the world”

    See http://geoffsurratt.typepad.com/inner_revolution/2010/02/why-small-groups-dont-work-part-2.html

  3. aldru1011 says:

    Surratt implies that misional groups work better than just growth or fellowship groups. What is misional anyway?

    • “misional”, “paradigm shift” and other fancy terms seem to me to often describe similar concepts in new words. The way i understand it, misional groups are those who have a clear goal of reaching out the community through acts of giving and helping, social justice and cross-cultural activities. Those things are ok. My concern is that making “doing” the center of small groups can be dangerous if the base was not “Knowing God”. I believe that Acts 2:42 gives us the basis of the early church growth: “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”. If Christians are based and fostered in an environment where they know God through the systematic and continuous study of the Scriptures, then the Word will steadily change them into Christ-like people and therefore the eagerness to tell others about Jesus, the tools and knowledge to do so, and the strategies of how to accomplish that goal (doing for the community) will come as a result, not as a prime goal. As believers grow in the knowledge of God (2 Peter 3:18), they will inherently become misional in their lives and doers -in practical ways (James 1-2), of the Word of God.

  4. Angela says:

    If Sunday morning is about outreach and being missional, and if small groups should be the same, then when does discipleship ever happen? At some point, believers need to grow up and become mature in their faith. The Bible is full of verses that tell us we need to study the Bible and know it.

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