In our journey to become more like Christ, real transformation occurs as we allow God’s life to flow through us as we practice those spiritual disciplines which Jesus taught and modeled. One of these disciplines is Biblical fellowship: a deep relational connecting with other believers that intentionally encourages us to love God and one another more completely. God wants us to love everyone—even our enemies—but he makes it clear that he especially wants us to love those who are part of our church family (Galatians 6:10). God wants his spiritual family to be distinguished by their mutual love for one another. It is our greatest witness to an unbelieving world. The only way we can learn to love one another is by being in regular, close fellowship with our church family, which is filled with imperfect people. Learning to love unselfishly isn’t an easy task. It runs contrary to our self- centered nature. But that is exactly what God has called us to do. And you cannot learn to love the way God wants you to, apart from the habit of fellowship.
The large group gathering of Christ’s church isn’t conducive to facilitating fellowship. It is great for worship. It is great for teaching and learning. But it not the best environment in which to experience Biblical fellowship. The habit of Biblical fellowship is best practiced in the context of a small group gathering. This is why from the very beginning, the church has had both a large group expression and a small group expression. At TCC, we gather as a large group on Sunday mornings for worship and teaching, and we gather in small groups throughout the week for fellowship, prayer, and discussing God’s Word. Here are five reasons why you should seriously consider getting involved in a small group gathering:
- Small groups provide a forum where you can build deep friendships based upon spiritual values (Acts 2:44). You can’t develop friendships without meeting together. You can’t develop friendships without sharing your life with others. And the more often you meet together and share, the closer you’re going to become.
- Small groups provide safe place to share your struggles (Proverbs 17:17). We all struggle from time to time, and your Christian small group becomes a built-in support group where people who care about you can sympathize with you, pray, and offer spiritual and emotional guidance.
- Small groups foster mutual growth as each member ministers one to another (Eph. 4:15-16). The Bible compares the church to the human body. Christ is the head, and we make up the many individual parts: eyes, ears, hands, feet, etc. And we grow into Christlikeness, both as a church and as individuals, as each of us exercise our unique, God-given shape to the benefit of one other (Ephesians 4:15-16).
- Small groups provide fortification against spiritual decline (Hebrews 10:24-25). One of the first symptoms of spiritual decline is usually inconsistent attendance at worship services and other gatherings of believers. Whenever we become careless about fellowship, everything else begins to slide. Having the accountability of a small group helps us stay on track spiritually.
- Small groups offer an opportunity to serve alongside others (Acts 6:1-7). We see a great example of this in Acts chapter 6. As the church in Jerusalem began to grow, so did the challenges associated with ministering to a growing church family. The church had a ministry where they provided daily meals for poor widows. Apparently some of the widows were being overlooked. I don’t think it was intentional, but it was a problem. And so the apostles appointed a small group ministry team to solve the problem. This was a small group whose primary purpose was to minister to the congregation. This is the genesis for our ministry teams here at TCC. We would love for you to join one of them. It is a great way to make new friends while serving the needs of the church.
God has called us to love one another, especially in the church. And love is spelled T.I.M.E. If you are going to make a small group a priority, it is going to require a time commitment, and that means that we are going to have to give up pursuits of lesser importance to make room for something of greater importance. Rest assured, making time to practice the habit of fellowship will be worth the investment.
Application / Challenge
Determine to develop the habit of fellowship by getting involved in a small group: