Joining a small group is a great way to grow spiritual friendships. If you're interested in learning more about joining a small group or starting a new group, please come to our Small Group Orientation on Sunday, September 25, at 9:45am in the baptistry room or contact email@example.com
Building a Christ-Centered Community
The life of following Christ was never meant to be solitary. The early Christians pursued it in groups not much larger than the average small group, meeting in homes for the first two hundred years or so of the movement. By meeting in a small group, you are following a time-tested format for spiritual life.
People join small groups for all sorts of reasons: to know a few people well; to be cared for; to learn; to grow spiritually. Small groups are the ideal setting in which people learn what it means to take on the character of Christ, and also to put that knowledge into practice. While there are many helpful things one can do alone or in a large group, a small group offers many advantages. Among other things, group members can:
- encourage one another in good times and bad
- ask thoughtful questions when a member has a decision to make
- listen to God together
- learn how to pray
- pray for each other
- benefit from one another’s insights into Scripture
- acquire a habit of reading the Bible on a regular basis
- practice loving their neighbors
- worship God together
- learn to communicate effectively
- solve problems together
- receive care from others
- experience the pleasure of helping another person grow
It will be a rare group that immediately fulfills all of these goals effectively and develops a level of significant trust. Normally we have to earn one another’s trust through the gradual formation of the group. Trust is a crucial element to growth.
Small Group Guidelines
- Confidentiality: Nothing that is said in this group is ever discussed outside it without the permission of those involved or without protecting anonymity.
- Self-focus: We are here to work on ourselves, not on others. We share our own experience, insights and feelings.
- Respect Others: We do not advise, analyze, or ”fix” others. Each of us is free to find our own answers.
- Limit Sharing: We are considerate of the need for all to share, and limit our own sharing time.
- Listen: We avoid cross-talk and give each person who shares our undivided attention without offering unsolicited advice.
- Stay on the Subject: We avoid discussions and debates about controversial topics and outside issues.
- Consider Others: We guard against offending one another; if someone offends us, we work it out directly with him/her.
- Let God Work: We do not preach at members of this group.
Biblical Commands Fulfilled by Small Groups
Of the 59 occurrences of “one another” in the New Testament, fully one third of them call for loving or encouraging one another! Membership in a small group offers unique opportunities to:
• Be devoted to one another. (Romans 12:10)
• Honor one another. (Romans 12:10)
• Live in harmony with one another. (Romans 12:16)
• Stop passing judgment on one another. (Romans 14:13)
• Accept one another. (Romans 15:7)
• Instruct one another. (Romans 15:14)
• Greet one another with a holy kiss. (Romans 16:16)
• Agree with one another. (1 Corinthians 1:10)
• Have equal concern for one another. (1 Corinthians 12:25)
• Serve one another in love. (Galatians 5:13)
• Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2)
• Be kind and compassionate to one another. (Ephesians 4:32)
• Forgive one another. (Ephesians 4:32)
• Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. (Ephesians 5:19) • Submit to one another. (Ephesians 5:21)
• Do not lie to each other. (Colossians 3:9)
• Bear with each other. (Colossians 3:13)
• Teach and admonish one another. (Colossians 3:16)
• Encourage one another daily. (Hebrews 3:13)
• Spur one another on toward love and good deeds. (Hebrews 10:24)
• Do not slander one another. (James 4:11)
• Don’t grumble against each other. (James 5:9)
• Confess your sins to each other. (James 5:16)
• Pray for each other so that you may be healed. (James 5:16)
• Love one another deeply, from the heart. (1 Peter 1:22)
• Offer hospitality to one another. (1 Peter 4:9)