Some of you read my Facebook post yesterday. Rich and I just returned from our annual weekend at Grand Lake with friends. Five couples have been our “mini-church” for the past twelve years with us meeting in one another’s homes every Monday night (though we all attend our own bigger churches on Sunday morning.) Twelve years? Good grief. That’s over 600 times! As one member pointed out, “Just think of the food budget we’ve exerted feeding each other dinner all these years!”
Most people in the body of Christ yearn for a place to be accepted and loved no matter what. We’ve all been a part of groups where everyone seemed so perfect and sinless, which only magnified our feelings of not measuring up to “so-in-so” (that’s the enemy’s big trick!) But the truth is, Jesus’ desire for His church is for individuals to come together in a safe environment where the Holy Spirit finds fresh release to cleanse, teach, empower, lead, comfort, and expand His mission through ordinary people like you and me. Every follower of Christ yearns for such a setting where “real” relationships take root.
What would it mean to you to find a small group where you were not judged and loved unconditionally? How would your world be enhanced to be the recipient of genuine prayers from others and an atmosphere where you felt valued? What affect would it have on your worries and weaknesses, children and personal character development? I can tell you, the effect would be astronomical because that is God’s plan.
So where does one find a group like that? Obviously, God’s at work in you or you wouldn’t be reading this. Perhaps God’s calling YOU to be the conduit to start such a group. If so, here’s a good place to begin.
- Pray. Tell God your desire. Ask the Father to bring to mind who’s to be a part of the group. They might be in your church or people with whom you feel “like-minded” in other settings. Just pray and examine who pops up in your mind.
- Fast. Fasting (whether it’s a few meals or a few days) breaks you away from the appetites of the world and puts you in a bubble to hear more clearly from God. Be steadfast in your desire for God to put this group together.
- Once you’ve discovered your partners, talk about what you’d like your time together to look like. Our group has tried Bible studies, but we always seem to gravitate back to food, fellowship and praying for one another. We write down each person’s prayer concerns. Then someone in the group prays for them on the spot.
- Make it a priority to pray for the group members daily. Praying without ceasing means they’re always in your heart being lifted up to the Father both consciously and unconsciously though you might not be verbalizing the words. We have a total of 19 children in our group and the grandchildren list is rising daily. I’ll just say, “Lord, 19!” He knows that’s a prayer for Him to accomplish His will in our children. After all, aren’t our kids always at the top of our prayer list?
- Remember that Christ is the focus! Ask the Spirit of God to break down walls and keep before the group that confidentiality is not only MANDITORY but it honors God.
So feeling disconnected in your spiritual life? Connect in a small group. It unfurls your life purpose and serves as a launching pad for God’s highest and best to take flight.
(Here’s our Monday night group a few years back at one of our 19 kids wedding: Matthew and Ali Cook. And too bad Pistol Pete was not in the pic. He walked into the reception a few seconds later.)