Wednesday, November 13, 2019

3 Ways that Small Groups Grow

Two weeks ago, we spoke of when small groups have too heavy of a focus on one type of growth, and why a balanced method is encouraged to healthily grow the small group ministry. This week will be a prequel to that discussion, where we will back up and discuss what it means to have inward growth, outward growth, and a third type that was not previously mentioned: upward growth.

Growing through Deeper Relationships
What sets Christianity apart from any other faith is the acknowledgment of the relationship that we have with our Lord. In no other religion do we see the Creator loving his creation so much that He comes down to Earth to sacrifice Himself in the most striking display of unconditional love. This magnificent type of love is echoed within the community of believers and it then naturally spills over into the world. Sharing a meal, attending a Christmas party together, or going to the park, are all opportunities that allow us to take the time to experience fellowship within the group of individuals that the Lord has assembled together for that day. By spending time in community, we have the ability to experience a sliver of the infinite relationship that God experiences with Himself within the Trinity.

Growing through Outward Invitation
There is an inability to restrain the love of Christ. It is impossible, for it is so good that no evil could never stop it. Because it is impossible to contain God, it is inevitable that the church will intersect with the secular world on many fronts. When this occurs, do we let Christ speak through us, or do we attempt to win man over with only our own means? If in our groups we practice the inward growth that was mentioned above, then the world will see the love of Christ on full display. Indeed, if we are unable to sustain genuine and nurturing relationships inside of the church, then we will unfortunately have very little to share with the world that can offer anything better than what it already has. By reaching out to the unchurched or the nonbeliever, we have the ability to incarnate the message of God and extend to them as an invitation to experience the love of Christ through a thriving small group.

Growing through Upward Reach
While other faiths set a goal for the individual to become empty, or infinite, or possibly even a god themselves, Christianity is the only faith that claims that we are unable to achieve salvation by our own works and also that grace is sufficient. While we grow deeper in a relationship with God, we learn to hear His voice and trust Him more. By trusting Him more, we are able to more easily be obedient to His will. And as we become more obedient to His will, we see Him work in our lives in more powerful ways than ever. Proverbs 9:10 says “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” By reaching upward to the Lord and learning more about who He is and what He has done through His Son Jesus Christ, it helps give the small group more incentive to place the Kingdom of God first in our lives in all that we do, giving God all of the glory and honor that He deserves.

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