While solitude to have focused time with the Lord is vital, prolonged spiritual isolation is potential fertile ground for the enemy. Hebrews 10:25 says “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Thank God for a Small Group. I accepted Jesus into my life at age 11 but it was only through intentional regular study of God’s Word within a Small Group in 2004 that I came to know a little more deeply about what God likes, hates, His character, promises, benefits, and ways.
Last week, the sister who hosted the 2004 small group studies invited me to an official Small Group get-together. The invitation to come to a small group was like a figurative staff of the Good Shepherd to bring me back to the sheepfold. Though I used to attend the women’s ministry as a Small Group Leader, I withdrew from duties this past year so as not to ask my faith questions in a setting where others may stumble. Withdrawing from duties took off my focus from the Lord (not a good thing) to my circumstances. I would not recommend it. Nevertheless, I welcomed the idea of coming back to start from scratch all over again as a participant.
The Small Group meets regularly to encourage one another to grow spiritually through intentional study the Word of God and its practical application in everyday life. Some call it a “Care Group” where people can ask questions and pray together. Participants are asked to be accountable to God to follow these guiding principles:
C-onfidentiality: What gets shared should not be shared outside unless there is explicit permission from the person who shared.
Prov 11:13 A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy woman keeps a secret.
H-onesty: One must be open and honest.
(Prov 12:22) The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.
R-espect: There should be respect for the leader as well as for all members.
Philippians 2:4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.
I-ntercession: We pray for one another’s requests and burdens.
(Eph 6:18) And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
S-piritual growth: The primary purpose for getting together is not to eat or chat but to grow spiritually.
(Heb 10:24-25) 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
T-imothies: As we get mentored by our teacher, so we commit to teach others.
2Tim2:2 2 says “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable (wo)men who will also be qualified to teach others.” There are three parties involved in the verse. The first is “you” (Timothy, the mentored), second is “me” (Paul the mentor), and third is “reliable (wo)men” (the others who also can benefit from being in a Small Group, to keep God as a life priority.
Coincidentally, today was the Christmas get-together of the Small Group I used to lead. When a leader can not serve (myself as case in point), God raises up other leaders to take her place because the ministry is not about people, His followers, but all about God and His Word. That’s why it is not a People Study but a Bible Study.
I have had the privilege and blessing to enjoy kindred spirit with different women who fear and love God, who know they need God and therefore seek Him in every area of life. I come away from our meetings refreshed and renewed in my faith.
Lord, thank You for the blessing of a Small Group.