Life Groups (small groups) are the culture at West Logan Church of God. We have many people in the community interested in our groups and asking what our groups do. A few nights ago I started to write a short reason to why the church today has moved to what we call small groups. A structure such as small groups seem so progressive to some cultures, but they started at the conception of the church in the book of Acts. Even at the end of this brief description of small groups, there is a link to what kind of groups our church host throughout the community and in the church.
We have had small groups going on for five years, and they are instrumental in our growth in Christ. Yes, we are a small group driven church with forty groups this fall semester. I came across a familiar portion of scripture that was used in a book study recently that brought on some intriguing thoughts about God’s intentions of small groups. This book is "Ministry In The Image Of God" by Stephen Seamands. Matthew 18:20 says, "Where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” Maybe, even in this scripture, Jesus is letting us know that small groups are the key to spiritual growth and not just desperation for us to gather a large crowd to gain His presence. Hearing this scripture quoted so many times because the crowd gathered was smaller than the Pastor intended for that particular service. Many times quoted to encourage the ones that showed up in-spite of others not coming to God's house. Studying scripture and reading what God has spoken to others concerning the scripture is a deep passion of mine. In this book by Stephen Seamands on the Trinity, one will become challenged to look at our relationship with God and the Church in enlightening depth. The Trinity is our model of community and relationship in our walk with Christ. Once again, we have to think of the Trinity being three and where two or three gathered in the name of Christ, there He is in the midst with us. Christ traveled with twelve, a small group. God was hanging out with two others when He created humanity as God said, “Let us create man in Our image.” The early church in the book of Acts would have church services and then meet in homes to break bread for a time of fellowship.
John Wesley under great conviction moved in convincingly towards small groups with the pursuit of personal holiness was impossible apart from the Christian community. Wesley had a great design on small groups in his day. He had groups separated into gender, age groups and marital status. The group John Wesley put together would have anywhere between three and twelve people. However, he an advocate for groups between three and five people. His rules for the groups were to grow for individuals to obey God’s commands. Basing his groups with a focus on James 5:16, which says, "confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another that you may be healed." The groups were for support, accountability, spiritual growth, confessing faults and struggles in the pursuit of holy living without fear of rejection.
God created us to be relational, just as humanity is created in His image and He is a relational God. A serious man once advised John Wesley and said, "a person cannot serve God alone, but you must find companions or make them." Stephen Seamands said, "The Bible knows nothing of solitary religion. In the light of the relational nature of personhood, that is good advice for every Christian, especially those involved in full-time ministry." Stephen Seamand spoke powerfully here regarding community within the church. God’s intentions were never for us to be alone but to be part of a people that can grow with one another beyond a Christian worship service. We need each other in the community of the church. Indeed, it is God and You. Also, it is God, and I. God's intention is for it to be Him, and Us in the community of the church. No one is meant to be alone, but we are meant to grow together. Iron Sharpens Iron, and we are better together, especially when we invite God in our midst. The spiritual growth seen in small groups and was never meant to be accomplished just through a corporate worship service. #Community #LifeGroups #BookOfActsModel #LoveLiveLead