Small Groups are Key
What do we need to help us grow strong in character on our spiritual journey? Authentic relationships. We are created for life‐giving relationships with God and others.
Throughout the four gospels, we see Jesus and the disciples serving, celebrating, ministering, and mourning together. We are privileged to read about this group of men on a journey to deepening friendships and growing character. Jesus and His disciples exemplify an effective small group—a collection of friends learning and growing together.
We all need people in our lives to support and encourage us. But it can be very difficult to enjoy this type of fellowship within a large group of people. However, we can build and grow authentic relationships within a small group environment!
A small group is a place where individuals can meet together on a consistent basis to have fun, build trusted friends, and grow in their personal and spiritual lives. They are a team of people who surround each other and cheer one another on.
Women yearn for belonging, and small groups can provide the atmosphere for the involvement and connection they crave. A small group also provides an effective place for training and biblical instruction. The body of Christ can offer something the world cannot—authentic, life‐giving relationships.
How will a small group benefit you?
Before the women in your church commit or endeavor to try something new, they will want to know how it will personally benefit them. They will look to their leader for an explanation of why small groups are essential. As you prepare to form new small groups, determine the reasons you believe small groups are important. Determine what would motivate you to spend time weekly or biweekly in a small group setting. Perhaps the four reasons listed below can be a starting point for you:
1. You will have fun.
2. You will build trusted friends.
Small groups promote authentic friendship and genuine conversation. Small groups provide an environment for individuals to connect and grow. The Early Church was made up of small groups of individuals who met consistently in one another’s homes to learn, grow, and experience life together. In this atmosphere, people feel safe, and can be open and honest about what they are feeling, thinking, and believing.
3. You will be challenged personally.
Small groups are essential to our spirituality because they help produce ongoing life change. When we start a relationship with Christ, it is only the beginning of our journey to becoming more like Him. Weekend services are simply not enough challenge or encouragement for consistent growth. We need personal relationships that will help us on this journey. If we allow and invite others to know us and challenge us, we will see consistent life change.
4. You will grow on your spiritual journey.
Small groups provide an environment for us to connect socially, develop personally, and to grow spiritually. No one desires to become spiritually stagnant; however, if we fail to nurture authentic relationship, we can find ourselves declining spiritually. When we invite others to consistently encourage and challenge us, we begin to grow and mature.
God’s plan from the beginning is for us to live in harmony with each other. God did not leave Adam alone in the Garden of Eden. He wants us to experience authentic relationships in community with others. We cannot thrive spiritually on our own. We can try, but we will fail.
We must intentionally surround ourselves with other believers. “Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!” (Romans 12:15‐16, NLT).
As leaders, we must continue to grow and be challenged. We must surround ourselves with people who will help us on our journey, and provide those we are serving with the same opportunity. No matter where we are on our spiritual journey, small groups are a necessary part of our lives.
Authentic relationships can be summed up in these words: genuine, honest, real, transparent, open, and trustworthy. In one word, they are love. Jesus said the world would know us by our love for one another. Small groups are a beautiful example of the Acts 2:42 church.
Remember, Matthew 18:20 (NLT): “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” Regardless of the size of your church, get started! Jesus is in your midst and is ready to change your life and the lives of those in your sphere of influence.
This content was excerpted from “Leading Small Groups” Equip Women unit, by Lacey Hartman, co-lead pastor at Rock Hills Church, Manhattan, Kansas. You can find this and other Equip Women units at here.
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