More than 50 times in the New Testament the phrase “one another” is used to describe our relationship with other believers. We are instructed to love one another, encourage one another, pray for one another, accept one another, bear one another´s burdens, and build up one another. The only way you can obey these commands is in a small group! We really do need each other. God never meant for you to do it alone in the Christian life.
1. You will understand the Bible better in a small group.
If you´ve ever listened to a Bible teacher or preacher and wanted to stop that person and say, “But what about…?” or “I don´t understand,” then a small group is for you! Preaching and teaching is just one way of communicating: you listen while the speaker speaks. This is fine for sharing knowledge, but it’s not as effective for personal application. In a small group setting, you can ask questions, participate in a discussion of the text, and hear others share insights and illustrations of the truth you are trying to grasp. The Bible must be applied to your own personal situations, and that happens best in small groups.
2. You will begin to really feel like you’re part of God´s family.
Most people who have been a part of a group say the greatest benefit is the close relationships and friendships that develop. They will frequently call each other during the week to share an urgent prayer request or exciting news. You´ll discover that your needs and problems are not unique — we’re all in the same boat. It helps to know that others are facing the same difficulties, or have lived through them and learned spiritual principles in the process.
3. Prayer will become more meaningful to you.
Many people are hesitant to pray in front of others, especially in a large church. In a small group of six to 12, you will learn to participate in prayer by having a conversation together with God. No one is pressured to pray, but as you become comfortable, you´ll be able to pray sentence-prayers and join in. There are many promises in the Bible related to group prayer. In praying together with a few others, we are drawn together and we find answers to the needs in our lives.
4. You will be able to handle stress and pressure better.
Small groups provide excellent support in times of crisis, change, and stress. You´ll have a sense of stability and security knowing there are people who really care for you and are committed to standing with you. When someone loses a job, or a family member has an extended illness, or a mother needs a babysitter – these are all practical needs that will be naturally taken care of through your small group. Many people in our church could testify that they would not have made it through a difficult time if it hadn´t been for the support of their group. In addition, we have a number of special support groups that deal with problems like alcoholism, financial difficulty, abuse, and other needs.