I have been meeting with a group of people from church for two years in my home on Sunday evenings. The group has changed some over time as people have moved out of Wichita Falls and some have moved in. We have consistently studied Scripture together and talked about our daily walk with Jesus. The longer we have been together the more open we have become in sharing our failures as well as our successes in our relationship with Christ. We have challenged one another when necessary and rejoiced with each other in victories. The New Testament is filled with “one another” passages about how we relate to one another. My small group has grown in these areas as we care for one another, love one another and encourage one another. We have wept with those in our group who have wept and rejoiced with those who have rejoiced. We spend time eating together each week after our time of Bible study and we spend time praying for one another as well during our weekly time together. We believe Experiencing God Together with a small group is a crucial part of being a maturing disciple of Jesus and this group has helped all of us grow in our relationship with Christ and others.
I have watched many people who have attended church but never made the effort to be involved with a small group for deeper discipleship and to know and be known by others. Many times those people slowly drift away from the church with nobody to follow up with them and hold them accountable. Or when things in life get tough, they simply drop their nominal involvement in the church. My small group is committed to meeting together regularly as the Scriptures instruct (Hebrews 10:24-25). If someone misses, we know why they are not there and what is happening in their life. We are able to minister to them in their times of hurt and chaos. We speak life from God’s Word to each other in the various situations that life throws at us.
I have said for the four years of being back on staff at Faith that I do not know how people can go through difficult times apart from Christ and not only that but apart from a small group of believers in the local church to walk with through life. Being a follower of Jesus is joyful but it is not always easy. Difficulties will come in this life and having a group of people who will encourage, challenge and walk with us through those difficulties while pointing us to Jesus is necessary.
As I learned during the Life Action Thirst Revival Conference, questions are a great way to see where we are in our spiritual walk:
- Are you involved in a small group or Sunday School group at Faith Baptist?
- If so, are you actively engaged in Experiencing God Together with others in that group or merely an attender?
- If not, what step will you take to become an active participant in a small group?
- Who can you invite to Experience God Together through your small group?