Four Reasons for Small Groups

Over the years, I have been in many different small groups.  During one season of high school, I was in a group of all freshman guys, led by one of the high school seniors.  We named ourselves the Mountain Men, which was funny, being a bunch of kids from Illinois.  Later in high school, I was part of a Wednesday morning small leadership group with other high school students and adults. In college, I was part of several small groups Bible Studies and in graduate school, three of us met weekly for two years or more.  Since then, I have been involved in groups here are there for different seasons and every time, I’m reminded of how much conversations with others about faith, the Bible and Jesus sharpen and shape us as faithful disciples.

Through the lens of thinking about small groups, I read through the parable of the farmer who sowed seeds. Just as parables can do, new light is shed depending on where you are in life. Today my thought is that each of the types of soils can stand as a reason to make sure you are meeting with a small group of believers.

In the story, the farmer goes out to sow the seed.  Some seeds hit the ground but get eaten up by birds.  Some hit the ground and sprouts quickly but is scorched by the sun because roots are deep enough.  Some hit the ground and grows, but is choked by the weeds.  But some seeds grow in healthy soil, producing a crop.

Our lives, as disciples, are supposed to produce fruit.  And one way to continually develop fruit-producing faith is to surround ourselves with other believers on a regular basis:

1) So that once the seed hits the ground, it stays.
2) So that once it takes root, it’s not choked out by weeds.
3) So that once the seed lands, it’s not scorched and withered by tough times.
4) Once it hits good soil, it produces a crop – beyond our imagination.

Small groups help each disciple keep the seed in the dirt.  Meeting regularly with a group keeps reminding us of our commitment to Christ.

Meeting with a group helps us stay focused on Jesus and our commitment to follow him.  It’s easy for our faithfulness to become choked with something as simple as an overstuffed calendar – or any other of a million things.  Commitment to meeting with a group helps us stay focused and keeps unnecessary stuff away.

Joining others in community is essential for making it through rough times. You need roots to go down deep, so you can withstand the scorching of the hot sun – and all the things that put the pressure on.

But probably the greatest reason to be connected in community through a small group of disciples is because it produces fruit.  Lives are transformed as we study scripture together.  Families are stronger when the parents are faithfully attending to their spiritual lives.  Homes are stronger when the focus on Jesus and eternity prevail.

Jesus calls on us to bear fruit – fruit that will last.  One great way to grow in this kind of faith is to connect with others on the journey.

How does your church aid in the process of people connecting in small groups?

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