26 Great Reasons to Join a Small Group! (Reasons 16-20)
16. Small groups are like the “mud room” in the farm house! Come as you are! A small group must be a safe place to be transparent and honest. In the small group we cry and laugh together. As long as we live behind a facade before others, we will not grow in Christ and we cannot help others grow in Christ. James said, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other.” (James 5:16)
17. Small groups provide us with the accountability that we desperately need! A few years ago, I was leading a men’s small group over the lunch hour. One of our guys (I’ll call him Kent) came in late and was noticeably troubled. We greeted Kent and I asked him what was wrong. He blurted out that he had just had a fight with his wife. I asked him if he had reconciled with her, to which he answered no. He explained what their argument was over and it was crystal clear to all of us that Kent was being extremely unreasonable and unloving toward his wife. Playfully, we told him to get back home and make things right with his wife and to let us know how things went. To Kent’s credit, he did! Kent was grateful for our tough love for him (and so was his wife!).
18. Small groups enable us to gather with other followers of Christ around God’s Word regularly! Acts 2:42, “they devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching.” That’s the Word of God. Recently, the small group that I lead launched into a three week overview of Joseph’s life from Genesis. We read several chapters aloud each session and then discussed how God was working in Joseph’s life and how his story applies to us. All of us found Joseph’s story to be profoundly relevant and significant in our lives. This is just one example of how we spend time together in God’s Word and how powerfully His Word impacts us!
19. Small groups launch us into God-focused prayer with other followers of Christ! A number of years ago, Linda and I were leading a small group in Texas. A couple, Randy and Debbie, were members of our small group. They had been trying to have children for seven years, but to no avail. We had prayed for them often. However, on one evening in our small group, we read the passage in Luke 1 about how God gave Zacharias and Elizabeth a child (John the baptist) in their old age. As I was reading this passage, the Holy Spirit impressed on all of us, “I want to do this for Randy and Debbie too.” God’s leading and communication were so clear, that I confirmed with the rest of the group to see if that’s what they were hearing as well. And indeed, all had sensed the same message from God. So we stopped and prayed right then and there. A few weeks later, Debbie announced that she was pregnant and today they have two beautiful children!
20. Small groups provide us with first-hand experience at watching God work among us! The story I’m about to share is bazaar! I almost hesitate to share it, but I’ll tell it just like it happened. On another occasion, we were leading a small group in Post Falls, Idaho. The couple in whose home we met had a small “designer” dog that they loved. However, when we showed up for small group that night, Larry was holding their dog in his lap and the dog did not look well. Larry had been staining a fence earlier that day and the dog had unwittingly lapped up a considerable amount of stain and had gotten very sick. They rushed the dog to the vet and he did what he could for the dog, but sent the dog home indicating that he doubted that she would live.
There we were that night, looking at this pathetic little dog draped over Larry’s lap. The dog was listless and breathing short, rapid breaths. About ten minutes into our Bible study, Larry suddenly looked up and said to his wife, “Shirley, the dog is gone!” The dog was now completely limp. We stopped what we were doing and prayed. We prayed for the dog, but mostly for God’s comfort in Larry and Shirley’s life. The moment we said, “Amen,” the dog snapped its little head up, jumped off Larry’s lap and ran over to her water bowl and started drinking! We were all dumbfounded wondering what we had just witnessed!
Now, I’m not saying what you’re thinking! All we know is what we saw and experienced. But the real meaning in that incident for all of us that night was that God was present with us and He loves us and cares for us intimately–down to the smallest matters in our lives!
©2012 Rob Fischer