Saturday 4 October 2014

Acts 20:20  « … I shrank not from declaring unto you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly, and from house to house. » ASV

Today is a special day for us to take a look at the importance of small groups in the life of the church.  From the beginning of the church God’s people have always met together for large celebrations as well as meeting together in smaller groups for fellowship and growth.  After the apostle Peter was liberated from prison by an angel he went directly to the home of one of the believers because he knew there would be people assembled there for prayer. (See Acts 12)

Meeting together with other brothers and sisters in Christ in the context of a small group has many advantages that a large assembly cannot afford: 1) A small group allows you to get to know others in a more intimate friendship; 2) A small group allows you to share and participate in the meeting; 3) A small group fosters personal growth and discovery; 4) A small group allows for the support of a member in need; 5) Many personal problems, needs, and issues can be addressed in a small group whereas in a large gathering it is impossible; 6) You can build excitement through a large gathering, but you can only build community in a small group.

God’s plan for humanity is revealed in the way the nation of Israel was built: One nation, 12 autonomous tribes comprised of self-governing households.  The tower of Babel stands as a contrast to God’s plan.  It symbolises central authoritarian control, conformity, and one man rules.  There cannot be growth, development or innovation in such an environment.  Conformity ultimately destroys creativity.

God intended us to live in households, governed by parents; belong to a tribe (nation) that gives us our sense of collective identity, and as such participate in world affaires.  When a nation begins to erode the function of the family unit ultimate that nation will collapse.  We need the small group to live and to thrive in life.

Corporate celebrations are also important. It is the time during the week you meet with a large number of believers to celebrate the Lord in worship and to receive a word from heaven.  The Spirit of God lifts your vision for service and the large assembly becomes a portal for service in the world.

Nevertheless you will never truly grow in your faith in God without participating in some kind of small group. The familial kinds of relationships that you will form in a small group are the kinds of things you need to grow in your relationship with God and discover the various gifts He has given you.

We want to encourage you today to ask God how you can integrate a small group of some kind in your local church.  Perhaps the Holy Spirit will even inspire you to begin a small group in your home.  If you have a difficult schedule and you have very little free time, perhaps you can integrate a small group that meets just once a month.  Nevertheless, this is something that is essential for your spiritual health and growth.  May the Holy Spirit lead you as you seek His will for your life.


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