Eight reasons to join one ...
1. You will understand the Bible better in a small group.
If you´ve ever listened to a message and wanted to stop the preacher and say, "But what about...?" or "I don´t understand," then a small group is for you! Sermons are a great tool for teaching and inspiring, but small groups are more effective for personal application. In a small group, you can ask questions, discuss the text, and hear others share insights and illustrations. The Bible must be applied to your situation and that happens best in small groups. Most LIFE groups discuss same text as the Sunday morning sermon, so the two support each other.
2. You will begin to really feel like part of God´s family.
Most people who have been a part of a group say the greatest benefit is the close relationships and friendships that develop. They will frequently telephone each other during the week to share an urgent prayer request or an exciting answer. You´ll discover that your needs and problems are not unique ~ we´re all in the same boat. It helps to know that others are facing the same dIfficulties, or have lived through them and learned spiritual principles in the process.
Over fifty times in the New Testament the phrase "one another" is used to describe our relationship to other believers. We are instructed to love one another, encourage one another, pray for one another, accept one another, bear one another´s burdens, and build up one another. The only way you can obey these commands is in a small group! We really do need each other. God never meant for you to go it alone in the Christian life.
3. Prayer will become more meaningful to you.
Many people are hesitant to pray in front of others, especially in a large church. In a small group of 6 to 12, you will learn to participate in prayer by having a conversation together with God. No one is pressured to pray, but as you become comfortable, you´ll be able to pray sentence prayers and join in. There are many promises in the Bible related to group prayer. In praying together with a few others, we are drawn together and we find answers to the needs in our lives.
4. You will be able to handle stress and pressure better.
Small groups provide excellent support in times of crisis, change, and stress. You´ll have a sense of stability and security knowing there are people who really care for you and are committed to standing with you.
When someone loses a job, or a loved one has an extended illness, or a family needs a babysitter - these are practical needs that are naturally taken care of through your LIFE group. Your group will coordinate the sharing of meals to be brought in when your family is in need. Many people in our church could testify that they would not have made it through a difficult time if it hadn´t been for the support of their group.
5. You will have a natural way to share Christ with friends, relatives, and work associates.
It may be that some of your friends who don´t know Jesus wouldn´t be caught dead in a church. They have a preconceived idea and just the thought makes them defensive. But those same people may be open to an invitation to a casual Bible discussion in a home or office setting. In a small group, your friend can ask questions and express honest doubts without feeling "put on the spot". When your friend sees the love and warmth and honesty of your group, it will make him or her more receptive to the Good News.
6. You will develop leadership skills you never knew you had!
The Bible teaches that every believer is given certain talents or "gifts" to benefit others. Unfortunately many Christians remain Sunday morning spectators all their lives because large group meetings are primarily "sit and listen" situations. As you share and participate in a relaxed small group setting, you´ll discover your confidence and self-esteem rising. This will help you at work, at church, and in every relationship.
7. You will deepen your understanding of worship.
Many people mistakenly believe that worship can only happen on Sunday morning in a large group with a sermon, the Lord's Supper, and an offering plate! Worship happens anytime we focus on God. Sometimes that happens best in a smaller group in praying or singing together.
8. You will be a New Testament Christian!
The book of Acts is very clear about how God intends for His people to grow and have their needs met in the church. We will never be able to hire enough professional ministers to meet all the individual needs in a church as large as College Hills. God never intended for it to be that way!
Consider these verses:
"They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Every day they continued to meet together... they broke bread in their homes and ate together... and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." Acts 2:42, 44, 46-47
"Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the Good News that Jesus is the Christ." Acts 5:42
"Greet also the church that meets at their house." Rom. 16:5
"Aquilla and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord and so does the church that meets at their house."
I Cor. 16: 19
"Give my greetings...to Nympha and the church in her house." Col. 4: 15
LIFE Groups offer these benefits that no believer can afford to pass up. If you are not participating in a group, why not join one this week? E-mail John Grant to find a group you will love!
*This article adapted from the website of Saddleback Church in California. Rick Warren & the sweet church at Saddleback produce outstanding material and share it freely with others for kingdom use.