Sunday night, March 26, will officially kick-off our small group ministry. In the coming days each member of our church family should be contacted by a group leader about participation in their group. Each of our leaders participated in a ninety-minute training seminar in preparation for leading a group in their home.
The success of our groups not only depend on their leadership, but also on your participation. Please take a moment to read a couple of thoughts about how to be a good small group participant.
May God bless your group as it begins in the coming weeks.
Although small groups are as old as the church itself, small group ministries have been a part of modern churches for many decades. They go by names such as cell groups, life groups, huddles, Bible study groups, house churches and fellowship groups. All those names give a sense of the purpose for those groups. Some exist for outreach, some for worship and community, and others for Bible study.
The purpose of our small groups is solely fellowship. Social media, mobile devices, and nearly instantaneous worldwide communication create the sense that we are more connected and engaged than ever before, but in reality, loneliness is on the rise (percentages vary but a rise in feelings of loneliness is evident in all studies). More opportunity for connectedness doesn’t always translate into deep and meaningful relationships. Intentional connectedness creates the opportunities for significant relationships to form.
At the same time, our church is not a neighborhood church but a regional church. Our church family is spread out over five counties (Bexar, Atascosa, Comal, Guadalupe and Hays) with the greatest concentration in north Bexar county. These physical distances (coupled with busy schedules) can create relational distance between members unless measures are taken to overcome obstacles to weekly fellowship with fellow believers.
Our small groups will be organized geographically to provide greater opportunities for fellowship. Fellowship occurs when Christians meet together regularly for the purpose of sharing their lives (see Acts 2 and 4). Fellowship creates a common life between believers where they shoulder each others’ burdens, encourage one another to grow spiritually, support one another in times of difficulty and sorrow, relate what God is doing in their life, and celebrate successes and blessings as they come. A lifetime of faithfulness to God requires perseverance that comes, in part, from bonding and interaction with like-minded people. God never intended for His children to live in loneliness and isolation, but to be a part of a larger body of believers (1 Corinthians 12) that feels like a family (Ephesians 2). Organizing our small groups geographically decreases long travel times in order to increase the possibility of being together. Pray for our church to blessed by a growing sense of fellowship in the hearts of our brothers and sisters.
- Mark A. Abshier
The kick-off of our small group ministry is a few weeks away. A lot of organizational work and training is being done to make the groups a blessing to our church. We want every member of our church family to be a part of that blessing and to be blessed by the groups.
With that in mind, I want to share some of the benefits of being a part of a small group. These are in no particular order of importance. Small groups…
These are just a few of the many blessings and benefits that come from being a part of a small group. Please pray for our groups to bless our church family.
-Mark A. Abshier