And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Small Groups are intentional gatherings of 8-20 people with whom we seek to build real community. They are designed to nurture three sets of relationships: our relationship with God, our relationship with one another in the church, and our relationship with our city and those who live in it.
Why small groups?
Sunday worship is just that – a time to worship our God corporately. While there is some time to greet each other, it does not serve as a time for long conversations. You can’t expect to build real community in passing. That’s why small groups are so important.
At the same time, we need real community for our corporate worship to be truly corporate, rather than just a group of individuals that happen to be worshiping together. Small groups facilitate the sharing of lives.
- Holistic. A Small Group is more than a mere “group” and more than a “Bible study.” Rather, it’s a mini-community of people that are sharing “real life” together. Each group’s community life centers upon a 1.5 to 2 hour-long regular meeting held in homes. But group members also meet at other times and places during the week.
- Inwardly Growing. Each small group gathers for spiritual nurture, intimate relationships, and Christian discipleship. This happens through the regular meeting as well as other times throughout the week. They serve as intentional means to building friendships and talk about matters of faith and life with those whom we grow to love and trust.
- Outwardly Facing. Small groups also work together for evangelism, mercy/justice, and service to each other as well as our local neighbors and neighborhoods (“outwardly facing”). Small groups are an important avenue through which we will learn to love and serve each other and the city together.
What Happens in a Small Group?
- Study. Our goal is to be continually renewed by the power of the gospel and studying the Scriptures together is a major part of that. Groups do different things. Some dive deeper into the sermon text, while others choose studies related to topics of interest such as mercy ministry, doctrines of grace, or the development of a Biblical worldview.
- Pray. Each group spends time together praying over individual and community needs.
- Friendships. Spending time together in and out of scheduled small group meetings helps foster friendships that reflect what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
- Service. Small groups work together to serve the larger body of Christ and the community as they look out for each other and combine efforts to help the hurting and the hungry.