1. CREATES FRIENDSHIP AMONG THE BODY OF CHRIST: Believers are brother and sisters in Christ. When Jesus was asked about his family, he said, “Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister” (Matthew 12:46-50).
We are adopted, through Jesus, as children of God (John 1:12; Galatians 4:5-7). Therefore, fellow believers are family in Christ. If we’re that close, shouldn’t we find ways to become better friends? After all, we’re going to inherent eternal life together.
Small groups have the ability to create friendships and help us connect – we are one with Christ.
2. BRINGS FELLOWSHIP WITHIN THE BODY OF BELIEVERS: The fellowship we see in Scripture meant something close and more sincere.
The early church devoted themselves to fellowship with one another (Acts 2:42). They used the Greek word koinonia (coin-o-nia), which means ‘association, communion, or close relationship.’ It wasn’t just for an hour – it was authentic and present during their whole gathering experience. Small groups offer the ability to harness that authentic fellowship – where, like coming together for communion on the weekend, can be as sincere and reflective in your Small Group gatherings.
3. INSPIRES GROWTH IN DISCIPLESHIP: Jesus’ main goal for us is to become disciples. He was pretty clear:
Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20
The main command isn’t ‘go,’ but rather, ‘make disciples.’ Yes, we need to ‘go’ in order to do that, but the focus is on multiplying ourselves so others can experience grace. A small group has the ability to provide that disciple-building environment. We can’t simply go to Mass once a week, and easily become a disciple out in our daily lives. We need to strategically use the other 167 hours we have each week as well. We sleep for 56 hours, we work for another 56, and have another 56 to use wisely. If we commit ourselves to a small group, we will actually become better equipped to multiply ourselves in whatever context we find ourselves in.
4. PROVIDES A COMMUNITY FOR MEMBER CARE: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). We need each other in order to learn and grow, and community actually has the ability to make us stronger.
Hebrews 10: 24-25 has :
us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
We are often quick to conclude that we can engage in discipleship and spiritual growth on our own. While personal devotions and prayer are important, we also must engage in spiritual community, if we want to spiritually mature. In addition, Small Groups are where the larger church becomes smaller and provide member care. Father Andrew mentioned before that he is one person, and he can’t be the only one recognizing a need, therefore, relational structures like small groups, are an integral part of "being" the church and not just "doing" church.
5. ENCOURAGES A HEALTHY ATMOSPHERE FOR ACCOUNTABILITY: Scripture teaches us we need accountability in two ways:
• We need to be accountable to God; and,
• We need to be respectfully accountable to each other.
While Scripture teaches us not to judge one another, because that’s ultimately God’s role (Romans 14:10-13), that doesn’t mean we avoid accountability. To be clear, we mean ‘humble, grace-filled, and respectful’ accountability. It means that we have to follow Scripture’s lead and identify and deal with our own sin before thinking about helping someone else with theirs (Matthew 7:1-5). In fact, if we can’t identify our own brokenness, we probably don’t understand God’s grace. And we certainly can’t pass on God’s grace to others.
When we experience healthy accountability, we grow together in love and respect.
This beautiful atmosphere can be found in a small group.