It Takes More than A Sunday
God created us in such a way that: waking up on a Sunday morning; driving or walking to a local church; saying “good morning” to a few people in a lobby; singing songs and listening to a sermon in the sanctuary and returning home will never be sufficient to meet our spiritual needs.
Though some people claim a Sunday morning meets these needs, if we are serious about becoming a passionate follower of Jesus, it takes more than a Sunday morning spiritual inoculation.
Regardless of how good the band, or how charismatic the preacher, Biblical truths heard in the absence of spiritual conversations tend to run off us like water in a parking lot rather than soaking into us like a rain on a lawn. A typical Sunday morning does not provide enough interaction with people for spiritual truths to go beyond the level of information. Conversations with other Christians is a crucial part of God’s word impacting our lives at a deep level.
Here at South Calgary, one of the ways we try to meet the larger spiritual needs of people is by providing “Small Groups,” or as we often refer to them, “Home Groups.” There is no fancy program around what we do. It is a simple ministry where groups of up to 15 people meet in a home or, in some cases, at the church for a Bible study or to discuss a biblical/life topic.
One of the purposes of Small Groups is for people to become passionate followers of Christ.
At some point in the past year I heard or read the idea that most people begin to attend a church because the people they meet are friendly. And the same people later leave the church because they don’t have any friends.
Though the two statements sound contradictory, they are true. As I was challenged by this, I realized that for South Calgary, Small Groups are one of the keys towards friendships.
Everyone who is part of a Small Group quickly has a group of friends they look forward to seeing at least twice a week; on Sunday and at their Small Group Meeting.
Though all groups have some changes each year in who attends, most groups, once formed, continue for years. One group has been meeting for over well over 15 years. The stability is because of friendships.
Small Groups provide a place to honestly talk about life’s issues such as what is happening in your family, at work, or with your health. It provides the opportunity to have people pray for you, and when they see you on Sunday, to ask about your needs.
Small Groups are a place where you get to know people and can serve them and meet their needs.
Small Groups provide a place where you can share your thoughts about a passage of the Bible, have people listen to your ideas, and learn from others doing the same.
A Small Group’s effectiveness isn’t the specific study being done; or the credentials of the leader; or the amount of food served; but the friendships.
A second purpose of small groups is for people to develop lasting friendships.
Almost Like a Snowflake
Each of our groups are unique. Most groups consist of a combination of couples and singles; several groups are for seniors; and two groups are for women. Groups meet at different times including weekday evenings, or during the day. One group meets in the church building while the rest meet in homes. Every group decides, based on their needs and interests, what they will study.
What is common among all groups is the similar weekly format of study, discussion, conversation, prayer and refreshments.
Imagine . . .
This Sunday morning, we will introduce our Small Group leaders and give you the opportunity to talk to them about joining a group. On the following Sunday (September 23) we will have printed material at the church about the different Small Groups. If you are not currently part of a Small Group I encourage you to consider joining one.
Yes, I know you are busy. It is part of our culture. And there are times we need to evaluate our busyness. Are we busy with what God wants? Maybe we should adjust our busyness to get more in line with God’s expectations and provide space to become a passionate follower of Christ.
Imagine the spiritual growth that is possible as you study the Bible in a context where you can discuss Biblical truths with other people.
Imagine the friendships you can develop.
Imagine the impact you can have on others and the impact they can have in your life.
– Pastor George Ridley –