The last few weeks I have written about the prerequisites and pillars of being a disciple – Salvation, Surrender, the (Holy) Spirit, Supplication (Prayer), and Scripture. This week is the last pillar – Small groups (community).
There has been a story floating around in church circles for quite some time– not sure if it is real or just legend. The story goes something like this: Two sisters attended the same church for a number of years and their father suddenly passed away. After three months one sister could not stop talking about feeling so blessed by the love and show of support from the congregation. The other sister, however, ended up leaving the church due to feeling a lack of support from the congregation.
What was the difference? The first sister was part of a small group and the other was not. The first sister was not just a member of the church she was part of a community. The other was just a member.
We all need to be part of a community. We were designed to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Research shows that people join gangs for the same reason they join country clubs – to belong; to be accepted; to be supported; to be encouraged; to be lifted up.
The early church documented in Acts 2 gives us a great model for true community:
“44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
What can we learn from the early church?
- They spend time together and were like-minded.
- They took care of each other in terms of financial needs, emotional needs and physical needs.
- They worshiped together and “enjoyed the favor” of each other.
My men’s group, Point Man Small Group (named after Steve Farrar’s classic on leading your family) has meant the world to me over the last 5 ½ years in terms of:
- Growth – Iron sharpens iron or to say it another way: the people you hang out with are a picture of the future you.
- Accountability – We all need at least one person that will help us stay the course, to help conquer our weaknesses.
- Advice – God is very clear that we are to pray, search the Bible and seek wisdom from fellow believers when making a decision.
- Friendship/Encouragement – There is something special about friendships that no other relationship can provide.
There is a reason so many churches push small groups: We need community. North Point Community Church states the following about small groups on its website: “If you want to grow in your relationship with Jesus, you need to have intentional relationships with people who have the same goal.”
Even The Lone Ranger had Tonto who usually referred to him as “Kemosabe” meaning “trusted friend.” We all need at least one Kemosabe.
Who is your Kemosabe? Or do you tend to be a lone ranger? If so I encourage you to join a group today – It can be a women’s group, men’s group, a couples group, a Sunday school class, etc. If I can assist in finding you a group please let me know.
In His Service,