Miles began his message reminding the church of the Rock rally this Saturday night, September 11th at Paradise Point Resort and Spa at 6:30pm. He encouraged everyone to prayerfully get involved as the Rock kicks off their new vision for small groups.
Miles shared that back in 1984, soon after he was saved and began attending church, he wanted a way to continue to grow in his walk with Christ, and for him getting involved in a small group was the way to do so. Being a part of a small group is what furthered his growth as a believer through the accountability he found in the relationships fostered through involvement in a small group.
It is extremely vital for believers to be involved in a small group, not only to gain a sense of community among other believers, but also to continue growth in their Christian walk. In being part of a church as large as the Rock, it seems easy to be just a face in the crowd, but taking part in a small group can introduce a person to a smaller community of believers within their own church to whom they can connect with, and grow with.
The Early Church, A Model for Small Groups
Miles led us to Acts 2:40-47, as the main of passage of the message. This passage takes place after Peter delivered a sermon to the men of Judea, after the day of Pentecost when the coming of the Holy Spirit had occurred. These scriptures state that as a result of Peter's sermon the word was received gladly, and as many as three thousand souls were saved. That was a tremendous response to the message of the Lord Jesus. As the Rock casts its vision for small groups, one of the main emphasis' is reaching out not only to those in the Rock church, but getting our neighbors involved, inviting people to join in our small groups, who perhaps have never accepted the Lord, or heard the message of salvation.
Acts 2:42 states, And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. This was the response of the believers following their salvation. This also describes the important facets of a small group. The new model for the small groups at the Rock involves a six-week series that is put together in the format of a DVD that the group can watch together, as well as a workbook to go through the lesson taught. It is a new exciting way for groups to come together and learn about the Lord.
Fellowship is also an essential part of a small group. However, often times fellowship can stray from what it is purposed to be. Too often in Christian small groups conversation ends up being about the last movie we saw, or what team won the football game the night before. Our Christian fellowship should be concerned with discussing things of God, sharing with one another what we've been reading in the Word, or questions we may have about the Word of God.
The breaking of bread is also a fun part of sharing with a small group. Miles shared of a time in his life when he had fasted for forty days, and while he sat down with his family for dinner, because he wasn't sharing in the food with them, he felt a bit disconnected from the time of togetherness. Food truly plays a role in sharing togetherness with one another. It is a special time when we get to sit down and share a meal with our families, and is equally special to do the same with a small community of believers.
Prayer is also a crucial part of not only our personal spiritual life but also our growth in small groups. Through being a part of a small group we learn to pray with a group. It is not a requirement to pray out loud when part of a small group, but it is a blessing to be able to pray with a small group when you are learning together the word of God and sharing in fellowship.
The Blessings of a Small Group
Miles shared many different stories of people at the Rock whose lives have been so blessed by being part of a small group. Whether it be a small group who bands together to help one of their fellow members pay the rent when they've lost a job, or a group who sends a young married couple on a weekend get away, while taking care of their young children for them so they can have a break. Miles also talked of a small group who sent care packages to a marine in Iraq was involved in their group. There were also stories of people who invited non-Christians to their small group, and were able to share with them the message of Christ, and see them get saved, and begin living for Christ.
Clearly being part of a small group is more than just meeting once a week to read a passage from the Bible, and sing a song together, it is building community with fellow believers. It is about inviting neighbors, and unsaved, to be a part of that Christian community so they too can know Christ. It is about having accountability, and connecting with other believers who care for each other.
Are You In?
In recognizing the importance and blessings of a small group, if you aren't already involved in one, are you ready to jump in? You can start by attending the rally this Saturday night as Miles shares the Mission and Vision statements for the Rock church, and as the vision for the new small group model is presented.
Next week Miles will be sharing an overview of the book of Genesis, as the Rock has just finished going through the book together. There will be a quiz, so study up!