People are messy; community is messy. Community within a Small Group is a beautiful place to find hope with other believers, but it can also be a difficult place to enter with the fear of being known by others. These are three personal takeaways that I have learned from being a member in a Small Group and how it has benefited my own walk with God.
1. I Need to Learn from Others
I went through a season where I was not in a Small Group. During that season I felt a sense of apathy and dryness in my walk with God. I contributed those factors to life circumstances. However, after eight months of not being in a group, I decided it was time to rejoin.
When I began meeting with this new group on a regular basis, I realized how much my heart and my own personal walk with God benefited from spending intentional time with other believers. I grew as I heard about what God was doing in the lives of others and what it was that He was teaching them from his Word. I needed a fresh perspective from others in my life.
2. There is Beauty in Differences
I am prone to spend time with people like me. It seems that we are all naturally drawn towards this tendency. Being a Small Group member in a group with people in different life stages than me has caused me to rethink community.
As a twenty-seven-year-old single, I need the perspective of the young mom who only wishes she could sleep, or the older mother who is worried about how to care for her teenagers. I’m quickly reminded that no matter the season of life, life is hard, but even sweeter, that no matter what season of life you are in, God is faithful. I am reminded of this as I spend time with people different than myself.
3. Small Group Can Be a Family Away from Family
Many in Small Groups are living far away from their families, and some have strained relationships with families. One of the beautiful realities that I have found being a member of a Small Group is the sense of family that is gained within the group.
During a difficult season in my life, the leaders of my group came to my home, brought me food (which was no small feat considering my lengthy list of allergies), and simply spent time with me. What might seem like a simple gesture, ended up being a sweet blessing that made me feel loved and cared for. This sense of family was birthed out of time spent with one another and doing life with one another.
The Way God Created it to Be
Entering a community of people that you do not know (or even those who you do know) can feel risky and vulnerable. But it can also be rewarding, stretching, and growing in such a beautiful way. God created us to be in fellowship with one another, and I have seen and learned how necessary and helpful it is to my own walk with God.