“They worshiped together regularly at the Temple each day, met in small groups in homes for Communion, and shared their meals with great joy and thankfulness….” Acts 2:46 (TLB)
Spiritual growth happens best in community. We are better together! From the beginning of the New Testament church at Pentecost, these new Christ followers experienced the blessing of community through both large group worship gatherings at the Temple and small group fellowship in homes. Small groups help to sustain and generate spiritual life. We call them life groups because of the benefit they offer those who make the connection with others to do life together as they grow in Christ. If you are not a part of a life group, I want to challenge you now to connect with one or, better yet, host your own life group.
We are excited about the incredible potential of the network of life groups we’re building within Woodlands Church. Life groups have these eight benefits that no believer can afford to pass up. This week we’ll explore a couple of those benefits each day. If you’re not participating in a group, why not join one this week? You can connect here!
1. You will understand the Bible better in a life group.
If you’ve ever listened to a Bible teacher or preacher and wanted to stop that person and say, “But what about…?” or “I don’t understand!” then a life group is for you! Preaching and teaching is one-way communication. You listen while the speaker speaks. One-way communication is fine for imparting knowledge but is not as effective as a life group for personal application. In a life group setting, you can ask questions, participate in a discussion of the text, and hear others share insights and illustrations of the truth you are trying to grasp. The Bible must be applied to your own personal situations and that happens best in life groups.
It’s not unusual for people to say, “It would really help if I could sit down and talk with some others and discuss the Sunday message. I get part of it, but I just need help understanding how to apply some of it to my life.” Life groups allow you to do that.
2. You will begin to really feel like part of God’s family.
Most people who have been a part of a life group say the greatest benefit is the close relationships and friendships that develop. They will frequently call each other during the week to share an urgent prayer request or an exciting answer to prayer. 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 life group! We really do need each other. God never meant for you to go it alone in the Christian life. If you’re lonely, the answer to your problem is to join a life group.
We’ll look at two more benefits tomorrow!