Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Come Together Right Now...

I have always been a big proponent of small groups and that passion has only been fuelled by the amazing group I am a part of.  If I was to define our group in three words I would describe it as "Organically Christ-like".   It is organic, by nature of its creation.  A friend and I were looking around for a good bible study group, going church to church trying to find a place that would meet our needs.  When nothing really fit, we thought to ourselves, why don't we start out own.  So we did.  It is not a big group just the 4 of us, which is twice as many indicated in Matthew 18:20 "Where two or more are gathered in my name, I [Jesus] am there among them." We are all from different churches, some of us strangers at the beginning but now friends. The fabulous thing is that we are different enough to compliment and challenge one another but we share some things in common.  We are all accomplished women, aged 26-34, independent, intelligent, and in relatively the same stage of life.  

Our small group is Christ-Like in that we watch over each other in love. We are transparent with each other, open with our struggles, we share our pains, discouragement and frustrations, as well as our dreams and victories.  We hold one another accountable and encourage and challenge each other.  When we meet formally each Wednesday, we are in God's word, learning how to live like Christ in the middle of our circumstances.  We always pray for and with each other, giving thanks to God and seeking His guidance and help to live lives that will glorify Him and bless others. 

I love this group, because it represents what I believe to be one of the most integral cogs in the life of a healthy church and a necessity in the life of each person wanting to grow in their spiritual walk. A safe place where we can confess our sin struggles. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. ~James 5:16. Real - authentic - transparent individuals, centred in Christ but imperfect and aware of it. It is a group where we have developed relationships allowing each other to speak into our lives about the sin that we can't even see. Encouraging and challenging one another as we seek to be more like Him. A safe place to be broken, a great place to find healing, learning together what it means to live as Christ has called us to live, nurturing each other in faith, hope and love through relationships of mutual accountability.

Jesus devoted himself to a small group at the beginning of His ministry, consisting of 12 ordinary men who became His disciples.  The words of Jesus in Luke 22:28 reveals the need for human fellowship and support "You are those who have stood by me in my trials."  The early church was a small group of people that gathered to encourage and support one another, doing essentially the same thing our small group did tonight, meeting in a home, eating together and praising God.  The Methodist revival led by John Wesley was primarily based on the use of small groups for mutual confession to one another, to give encouragement and support in overcoming temptation and in developing a Christian style of life.

I am passionate about small groups because I believe that a lack of relationship in the church and/or one's life contributes significantly to a loss of spiritual vitality.  If you are feeling drained, unsupported, and struggling in your Christian walk, or you simply want to be challenged and encouraged, I would encourage you to find a solid small group or consider helping to initiate one. We would all do well to recover accountability and authenticity in the real and deep manner in which Jesus exampled it amongst His disciples, increasing the relationships amongst the body of Christ and helping one another to grow more in His image.

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