God has called us to a life of service in love to the world around us. We show our love for Jesus when we obey his commands (John 14:15). The beautiful thing about this is that his commands are not to take away our joy, time, or energy. We follow his commands so that we can have an abundant life (John 10:10). It is actually to our benefit that we obey. This is difficult, that is why God has given us each other to serve together with. When we serve together as a small group so many incredible things happen.
We Grow Through Obedience
One of the main points of small group life is for the members to grow in their faith. The primary way in which Christians grow is through obeying what the Bible says. When we do what the Bible says (James 1:22) we grow (John 15:2). What better way to put all of the things that we have learned through our small groups then by applying them to the world around us? As we study the Bible, pray together, and lean on each other in our small groups – it compels us to go and serve the world around us in love. When our whole group is doing this together, our whole group grows in their faith.
We Become United
Christians are called to a common mission. That mission is to glorify God in our lives (Isaiah 43:7) and to make disciples by sharing the Gospel with the world around us (Matthew 28:18-20). When we serve together in small groups it unifies us to a common goal. This is a great way for our groups to be reminded of the big picture mission that we have together. It shows our groups that we are all in this together and that we have each other to lean on. When we see that we have support in our groups through serving together we will see that we have support through the trials we face in our day-to-day lives.
We Understand Our Gifts
God gives all Christians a spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 12:7). The point of this gift is to serve, encourage, and build up the church. The best way that someone can come to know and understand the gifting that God has given them is through other members of the body of Christ. The rest of the body of Christ is able to see how other members are gifted when they serve together. When a small group comes together to serve, each member is able to use their gifts, work off of each other, and complement each other. As the group works together they are able to point to strengths that the Lord has given to each other in order to serve the church.
We Open Up
One of the best ways for conversation to happen is when our guards are down. Small groups are a place for openness, honesty, and accountability. However, not everyone is comfortable sharing in the same setting. When small groups get out of the classroom and serve together it allows for people to relax a little bit more and for conversation to flow a little more naturally. Some of the best discipleship conversations happen while working on a roof or handing out food.
We Show People Jesus
Did you know that Jesus prayed for you? In John 17 Jesus prays for all those that would believe in him through the message of the apostles. That is you and me, the future believers. What has always struck me is what he prayed for. Jesus prayed that the future church would be united. When the church is united the world will believe that the Father sent the Son (John 17:21). As the church serves together, the world sees the Truth of the Gospel. This happens because they see that love is what brings the church together. That love is the beautiful love of our Good King Jesus.
Are you a part of a group that is serving together? The name of Jesus goes out in word and deed when we serve together in small groups. This is what we want to accomplish at our church. If your group is not serving together, consider how you can take the lead in setting this up. There are plenty of places to serve, right around the corner or on the other side of the world. Praying that our small groups would continue to serve together well.