As we enter week three of this series on How to Make a Lasting Impact, we get to the section on Growing Together With Other People. When church is about COMMUNITY, it naturally involves other people.
When we read about the early church in Acts Chapter 2, we understand that they were gathering together in church and in homes; it was not an either/or situation, it was both/and.
Ken’s message on October 15 is covering this important principle.
Thom Rainer reminds us In his book, “I Will,” that in modern times, small groups have been tied to the overall health of the church. When small groups are functioning, the church is healthy and growing.
Please understand this following statistic, members who are involved in worship AND participate in a small group are five times more likely to be active in the church five years later, than those who attend worship only. We can’t grow effectively as a believer in isolation.
In this chapter, Rainer powerfully tells us that “when you’re not in a group, you’re not really committed to the church.”
If you’re not in a group, you’re at best a marginal church member.
If you’re not in a group, the likelihood of dropping out of church is high.
Not only is there a relational factor in small groups, but there is a ministry factor. The early church took care of one another, and so should we. We can’t accomplish all the “one-another” statements found in the New Testament unless we actually get together with one another. This is something that can’t be done while looking at the back of someone else’s head while sitting in a pew. The church is all about circles more than rows.
There is also a teaching factor in small groups, because it’s in the context of a small group that we can ask questions and actually interact with the scriptural content. We then seek to find ways to apply what we’ve learned, and may even hold each other accountable for the needed or desired changes in our lives.
We also can never forget the evangelism factor of small groups. Teaching is a wonderful by-product of small groups but remember that in small groups we have the opportunity to share the gospel with people and testify to what Christ has done in our lives.
If we’re going to develop community, we have to remember that community is about connecting. It’s about helping people to become better people. We all have setbacks in life, distractions, relational drama, and even doubt, but whatever you’re facing, you need other people. You need support.
Hebrews 10:25 reminds us that we should not stop meeting together (which is the habit of some) but get together to encourage one another toward love and good deeds.
In small groups, we grow in relationship with God and with each other. You need conversations with, and encouragement from, people who care about you.
At times, groups can be messy, relationships can be complicated … people are not perfect, but neither are you. There will be issues, and the messiness can be inconvenient, but community is exactly what God has in mind for us. He designed us to live in community.
So, where do you stand in relation to small groups? Are you in one? Do you lead one?
It’s interesting that when small groups work, it’s because it requires something from everyone. It may require patience, or mercy, but it certainly requires grace.
Think about it, without community, life is just not that much fun, it’s not as rich, it’s not as purpose-filled … isolation is NOT what God has designed for us.
So, if you want to experience this sort of community, get involved in a small group. You’ve seen the slide in our announcement rotation, “Life happens in Small Groups, Jesus was in a small group. I’m just sayin'”
Church has often been compared to a sports team, but imagine a team going to the game with only one person in the stadium. It’s not quite the same effect as when the crowd is all going crazy together. It’s because things done together are just better. This is life lived in community.
As a group, perhaps discuss four reasons why groups are so important.
What excuses have you heard, or even used, for not being in a small group?
How can you get more people involved in your group?
What if you have no more room in your group? What are your options? Who is willing to step out of that group and start something new so “no more room” is not an excuse for not growing?
Thank you for watching this video, and pray that more people will get involved in community life at King’s Grant.