Getting Ready for Small Groups

Dear Christ Church,

One of our big values as a church is that we believe that the Gospel doesn't just restore our relationship with God, but gives us the ability to have deep relationships with one another.  These relationships are not just meant to be a nice add on to life.  No, our relationships with one another are an integral part of growing in our understanding of the gospel.   1 John 1:7 says, "If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin."  Through our experience of the fellowship (literally sharing life), we experience the cleansing power of the blood of Christ.  Gospel and community go together.

This is why we try to have several simple rhythms built into our church culture that we can use to slow down from the busyness of life and experience fellowship with one another.  One of those rhythms is our bi-weekly small groups.

Our small groups are nothing fancy.  We eat some food together, study the bible together and pray for one another.  Here is what I am hoping happens, though, through those simple things.

1.  We use our time eating to share about what's going on in our lives with one another.  We listen, we encourage and we learn how we can pray for one another.

2.  Our Bible study time helps us get fresh insight into scripture and equips us to be daily studying the Word for ourselves.

3.  Our prayer time is a practical expression of care for one another.  Also, as we pray for our neighbors who don't yet know Jesus, it is a time for us to link arms on mission together.

I don't expect that each small group meeting is going to be a profound, life changing experience.  However, I do believe that over time, God will use these gatherings to build us closer together with one another and as we experience that, our experience of Him will grow.

So how can we prepare ourselves to get the most out of our small group time?

1.  Pray for the people in your small group on a daily basis.

What we pray about shows what we care about.  There is no better way to love people in your small group then to pray for them.  It’s crazy how prayer knits our hearts together.

2.  Read the Scripture that we are going to study ahead of time and come ready to share thoughts and ask questions.

Come with your questions about the text.  Come with thoughts about applications from the text.  Come with how you have been affected by the text.  We don’t just study for information, but transformation. The more preparation we have, the more transformation we can experience.

3.  Invite out a friend, as we want these times to be open for anyone.

Don’t just think about small group for yourself.  Think about who you can invite.  Maybe it is someone new that you met at our Sunday Service, maybe a co-worker or friend from the neighborhood; whoever it is, bring them out.  There is a 90% chance that those who get connected to a small group will stay connected to the church for more than a year.  So let’s get new people into our groups

4.  Come on time.

No one has to tell us to get to work on time (That is, if we want to keep our jobs.) Being on time shows that we respect and value what is about to happen.  What could be more important to be on time for than to fellowship with our spiritual family?

5.  Stay late.

One of the things that Americans really need to learn from other cultures is how to enjoy being in the moment.  We are so tied to schedules and agenda.  We just don’t do well with lingering. So if you can, take your time leaving.  Don’t just rush out at the end of your group, but linger and enjoy the people that are there.  Sure we all have to get to work the next day, but is 30 minutes more really going to make that much of a difference?

Enjoy your small group this week!

Pastor Jeff

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