Small_Groups_00060153_Widescreen Small_Groups_00060153_Widescreen SmallGroups-Cover

The dictionary defines “community” as, “a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists.  God’s Word defines community as, “43 A sense of awe was felt by everyone, and many wonders and signs (attesting miracles) were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed [in Jesus as Savior] were together and had all things in common [considering their possessions to belong to the group as a whole]. 45 And they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing the proceeds with all [the other believers], as anyone had need.46 Day after day they met in the temple [area] continuing with one mind, and breaking bread in various private homes. They were eating their meals together with joy and generous hearts, 47 praising God continually, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord kept adding to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:43-47, Amplified)  

The life of a born-again person, a Christ-follower — a Christian —  is never described anywhere in the New Testament as a life that is lived in solitude or outside of the community of believers.  Even the Apostles lived within the community of the churches they established and within the greater context of the church universal – often deferring to the Elders of the church in Jerusalem for authoritative guidance.

Community among Christians is a supernatural occurrence.  The same Holy Spirit comes to dwell within every regenerate person.  Regardless of mixed ethnicity, language, culture, or socio-economics, the same Holy Spirit in-dwells true Christians and creates an understanding fellowship that the scripture calls “koinania.”  If you have ever traveled to a country or region where the believers do not speak your native language and worshiped and prayed with Christian believers there, you will have experienced that oneness and unity in worship and prayer. Even though you might not have understood the words being spoken, you understood completely what was being said and done.  Personally, I love worshiping with brothers and sisters in a language that I do not know.  I find that I have a more pure and undistracted time of exalting my Lord and King.  The koinania fellowship of believers is truly a gift and a blessing from the Lord.

And for those of us who find ourselves in congregations of believers and in smaller groups of believers who study, pray, and worship in our own native tongue, the experience of koinania — of Community — is no less real.  Notice the Acts 2 passage above, notice what happened to the individual believers who were living in community.  (1) They experienced a sense of awe at what God was doing.  (2) They had all things in common — they took care of each other’s physical needs.  (3) They worshiped God together day after day, not just once or twice a week.  (4) They met in large groups of people at the temple area and in smaller groups of people in their homes to break bread and study more fully the teaching of the Apostles.  (5) They ate together with joy and they praised God continually in their hearts.  (6) God gave them favor with the people outside of their fellowship.  (7) The Lord added to their number daily new people who were being saved.

Christian COMMUNITY is what life is all about for the Jesus-follower.  No believer can grow in their relationship with God on their own – in isolation.  For His own reasons and purposes, God has created and designed us to experience Him and each other within the context of COMMUNITY as we “do life together.”  It is within our smaller groups of community that we can encourage each other as we experience the real circumstances of daily living.  It is within our smaller groups of community that we can spur one another on in our growth and pursuance of following the Master and becoming more like Him.  It is within our smaller groups of community that we minister to each others physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.  And, it is within our smaller groups of community that we have accountability in our daily life from those whom we can trust and who love us and understand us.  God designed all of this to occur within small groups of community in the church at large.

This is the value of a small group, whether it meets on Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, or any other time or day of the week.  We really do need each other, we really do need Christ in each other.  Don’t try to live life on your own.  Don’t try to live a Christian life on your own.  It cannot be done.  God did not create His Church as a corral for lone-rangers.  Instead, God created His Church to be a living entity made up of many smaller groups of believers who are living life together as they walk with Jesus Christ.

This is also why your small group and your participation in your small group is crucial, even vital, to your knowing the
Christ who has saved you.  Invest your time and your life in the lives of the others in your small group and see what begins to happen as your all experience Christian Community together!  AND, if you are reading this and you are not involved in a smaller group of believers, why wait another day?  Contact one of your pastors today and run to become a participating member of a small group where you can experience Community.  I guarantee that if you will do this, you will see God do incredible things in your life!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: