So what’s the big deal about small groups? Isn’t Sunday morning worship enough?
In today’s culture it makes sense that many don’t see the need for small groups in church life. Church is a place where we go to have this great experience in which people have a program set up for us, and then we leave. It’s so experience and performance-driven that many don’t see the need for small groups.
The New Testament Church
But when we look at what the church was like in the New Testament, it’s shocking just how different it is. There was no performance, and believers definitely saw the church as way more than just a once-a-week “experience.”
If you check out Acts 2:42-47, it’s quite remarkable just how devoted this first church was to God’s Word and to one another! Throughout the New Testament, the church was made up of people who interacted regularly and held each other accountable. In today’s world, this is quite difficult to see this start happening in the midst of a once-a-week big gathering. Hence, small groups.
Why Small Groups?
The Goal for Small Groups is the same goal for the church as a whole: to see life-transformation through the Word of God. The following are eight reasons why this goal will be best accomplished if a church is made up of small groups.
- The Great Commission: Some people may never come to a church gathering, but might try out a small group. Small groups meeting in homes, and even those meeting at the church, can provide a place where some will feel more comfortable learning about God and perhaps even becoming a part of the body.
- Relationships: Plain and simple, it’s much more likely for me to let you be a part of my spiritual growth if I know you. If I don’t know you, maybe I should let you love me by challenging me, but I probably won’t. Small groups foster long-term relationships that will provide the place for helping one another with spiritual growth.
- Openness: Imagine standing up and sharing with everyone in your church’s big gathering about a sin that you’ve been struggling with. You would probably never do this. Why? It’s difficult to be open up with people you don’t know. In small groups, you regularly meet with people, and hence get to know them!
- Encouragement: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve attended a small group after having a discouraging week, and left encouraged. A small group of people who know you, love you, and have the same purpose as you (to glorify God with their lives), can help you to see the glory of God even in the midst of pain or discouragement.
- Care: If you have a loved one pass, or you are put in the hospital, you might get a visit or a phone call from a pastor, which is great. But imagine a small group of people who really know you and love you rallying behind you to pray and support you!
- Accountability: Small groups might be the only place where you can find real, consistent accountability. Whether it be simply keeping your mind focused on Christ, or a specific sin you are struggling with, small groups provide a safe place to find accountability.
- Developing Leaders: It’s difficult to develop leaders in a big setting. Not many people seeking to grow in leadership are willing to stand up and preach, nor should they feel the need to. Small groups provide an opportunity for people to step up and lead in a setting where they can learn and get feedback.
- The “One-Anothers”: Below I’ve embedded a really neat info graphic from overviewbible.com. Reading through the “one-anothers” in the Bible will quickly reveal that small groups are so needed in order to really follow through with what God has commanded for believers.
Sometimes churches try and foster “community” in a generic sense, more about friendship and general comradery than about the Gospel. But biblical community is about seeing life-transformation through the Word of God. Even in small groups, this is our goal. It’s not just about friendship and feeling connected; it’s specifically about being part of a Biblical community that helps us along in our journey of becoming more and more like Christ.
If that’s our ultimate goal, small groups will definitely help!
For a list of Raintree’s groups, click HERE.