Being a part of a small group at my local church has radically changed my life.
Even though I have been rooted in a local church most of my adult life, being plugged into community was not easy for me to do. I became accustomed to relying solely on the friends I already had in my life and shutting others out. The fear of rejection and judgment often kept me isolated from welcoming new people into my life. It just seemed more comfortable (or so I thought).
After another military move to a new city where we had no support system, I was burnt out. I knew I needed more in my life. I needed community. Sitting on my bed, I began to pray for God to give me community. Women who lived locally that I could grow with, laugh with, and be my most authentic self. But I knew that meant I would have to do my part. When we had new military orders to move yet again, I made up my mind I would do more than attend church. I would get involved, and I would let others in.
My most significant step was to join a Sisterhood small group. I cannot say enough how this one decision has made a positive impact in my life, my marriage, and my family.
So, if you are on the fence about getting plugged into a small group at your local church, here are just three reasons why it is worth it.
Groups build community.
Coming together for fellowship beyond weekend church services is vital in our development as believers. Being an active participant in a small group helps us to cultivate relationships with other believers while providing an opportunity for nonbelievers to know more about Christ within a safe environment. These groups can connect us with other people so that we can build healthy, strong relationships in our community.
When I reflect how being a part of small groups in our local church has impacted our family this past year, I am just amazed. For the first time during a deployment, I became very ill and needed to go to the emergency room. This was one of my military wife deployment fears coming to reality. Unable to walk, I was able to reach out to my community to provide childcare for my sons, communicate with my husband who was overseas and care for me in the hospital. These ladies cared for my family and me for over a week providing meals, staying with us overnight, cleaning, and so much more. My hubby and I continue to be thankful for all that my small group and church family did for us in that season. This is just one example of how the women in my church showed up in a mighty way for our family. Believe me; I could go on.
Building community in small groups provided me with the relationships that would give support I didn’t know I would need. I just needed to take the first step to join.
Groups encourage growth.
In addition to attending weekend services at our local church, a small group creates additional space for us to grow deeper in our faith. In these settings, we can discuss, ask questions, and talk about how we are personally applying the Word of God in our lives when we choose to be active participants.
In a group, we connect with people who often desire growth and change, just like us. People who want to be better wives, mothers, daughter, and friends. People who want to take their next step in their relationship with Christ. People who are praying for us and with us. We realize that we are not alone in our spiritual journey.
Together, as a small group, we can provide support, encouragement, and accountability as we continue to grow in our faith and stay rooted in the vision of our local church.
Groups are outward focused.
Groups are an excellent way to extend the church into our communities. Some people may be hesitant to walk through the doors of a church, but they will feel comfortable walking through the doors of our home. What a blessing it is to create space where the Holy Spirit can touch the hearts of people who have felt uninvited, unloved, and unworthy. Within the group, we get the privilege to extend God’s love by continually making room for others.
Small groups are not cliques. Instead, they are an extension of the church where all are welcomed. As an extension of our church culture, we can be the hands and feet of our local church. This is often done through the context of relationship.
We seek ways to invite others in.