Fellowship. What does that word mean to you? For many people today, they have confused it with meaning “going to church.” They would be wrong. We go to church to worship God and to praise God and we tend to do that with a rather large crowd of people.
God intended us to experience and “do” life together. The Bible calls this shared experience “fellowship.” Real fellowship is actually so very much more than jut showing up at church. It is truly experiencing life together. In includes unselfish loving, honest sharing, serving others, cheerfully giving of your time and money, and always being one phone call away when needed. Of course active listening and attunement are skills that we learn to use as we fellowship with others.
When it comes to fellowship though, size does matter. Jesus knew this and that is why he he modeled the “small group” for us. Jesus could have had hundreds of disciples all at once if He wanted, but he knew that the smaller you keep the group, the better the participation you will get. If you get anything over 12 people in your small group, there will certainly be some people who stop actively participating. It is just too many people to try to get to know in a personal and loving manner.
We can worship in a crowd by singing and praising God, but we simply cannot fellowship in a crowd. Next time you are in church, I want you to consciously look around and try to see just how many people you can name by first and last name as well as know how many kids they have, where they work, what movies they like, etc. I guarantee you it will be very few.
Yet when you get into a small group, you will learn all of this an more about people. In fact, that is the entire point of small group. You start small with about 5 people. You begin to share things about your life with each other, and you study God’s Word together. Not only discuss it, but talk about how you are going to actually put it to use in your lives, and then hold each other accountable for your actions.
I cannot tell you just how valuable my small group is to my growth personally and spiritually. We study the Bible and we also study great Christian books such as “How People Grow” by Dr. Townsend.
One of the great parts about small groups is the authenticity that you get from your group mates. People are never more real when they trust you and they feel like when they do share with you, you will not judge them. Small groups are a very safe place for you to invest in the lives of others.
The Bible commands us to, “Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” So not only will you enjoy a realness and authenticity with others, not only will you experience true accountability, not only will you experience mercy and sympathy, but you will also be making God extremely happy by obeying His law.
If your church does not offer small groups, or is not large enough to have small groups, then I encourage you to have the courage to start one yourself. I cannot express to you just how enriched and blessed your life will be when you participate in a small group.
Have a very safe and blessed Independence Day!
Pastor Brad Komgenick