ReGrouphas come and gone, and hopefully we have been reminded, refocused and recharged as we have regrouped our small groups for the coming year. I am excited about what the Lord has in store for us, and what He is going to do in our church through our groups.
I began our first Wednesday night of ReGroupby saying something that I wanted to reiterate here: Small Groups are the most important ministry in the life of our church. They are not a program of the church–they are “church” in its purest form: believers interacting with one another, sharing gospel community together, discipling one another, living out life in the body of Christ together. As I usually tell people in our Connection Point church membership class, if you’re not in a small group you’re not really in church.
With that said, I wanted to encourage each of you who are involved in some way in the ministry of The Church at Shelby Crossings–whether you attend our worship services, or help with the youth or children, or whatever your involvement–to come and get plugged in a small group. We will have close to a dozen adult Community Groups when we start back up next week, plus a men’s group and a couple of women’s groups. If there’s not a group in your area, or one that fits your schedule, we’ll see what we need to do to start one. Whatever it takes, let’s make sure that you get connected to the “family” that we talked about on Wednesday night.
As we kick off our groups this coming week, I wanted to share some “Do’s” and “Don’ts” for each of us to consider as we head into our new groups, or our “like new” old groups. I’ll start with…
DON’T…get involved in a group out of guilt, shame, ought or should. We want you to come get involved because you want to be a part of something exciting and life-changing, for you and for others, and because it will be worth it. And if you give it a chance, I am confident it will be.
DO…come and get involved out of obedience to God’s leading, and a desire to grow as a disciple and make disciples. Of this I am sure: if the Lord has led you to our church, He will also lead you to be involved in a group, because that is who we are.
DON’T…let your busy schedule dictate or limit your involvement. We are all busy, with games and practices and recitals, and school nights, and on and on. But the truth is, contrary to the schedules of a lot of churches, we don’t have something going on eight nights a week, on purpose, so you can do ministry. Even still, so many people think they are too busy, or too distracted, to get active in a group. I will say, your schedule screams what is really important to you. And by the way, if you have children, they see clearly what you really value by what you do. So…
DO...prioritize your life, and decide what you want to be, or do, and more importantly, what God is leading you to do, and then, just do it. The good news is, you don’t have to choose between soccer or volleyball or baseball or football and your small group, unless they go seven nights a week, at which case you need to make some choices anyway, if only for your sanity. Back away, and rethink what your priorities are, and plan your life accordingly. We have groups several different nights a week–and even a few mornings–and as I said earlier, if we don’t have one, you can start one, and you’ll probably meet someone else’s need by doing that.
DON’T…be self-centered. A small group can be one of the most meaningful things in the world for you, and through it you can grow spiritually and find support and encouragement in difficult times. But, one of the great lessons of the Christian life, that Jesus Himself taught and modeled, is…it’s not just about you. Contrary to our consumer-driven society, it’s not always about getting your needs met. It might be that the Lord wants to use you to meet the needs of others. Which leads to….
DO…look outside of yourself, and see whose life God wants you to touch. In your group, and out. Be like Jesus, who came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. Who came to seek and to save the lost. And who said, as I have been sent, so send I you. And finally…
DON’T…forget to invite a friend or neighbor to join you in your group. That’s one of the main purposes of our groups, to be in the community, to reach our community, and share the community we have together in Christ. You just might be surprised who around you would love to come, and is just waiting on your invitation.
I look forward to this time next year when we will look back at the fruit borne through our small groups ministry this year, and the people who will be active in our fellowship then that we do not even know right now–those that the Lord will lead us to as we reach out in Christ’s love to those around us.
I’m praying for you, as I hope you are for me, and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.