I sat anxiously in my one-bedroom apartment awaiting the arrival of twelve men and women for my first Small Group meeting. Within the next year those individuals—made up of married couples, students, singles and engaged folks—would become my closest friends and picture of true community and love in action where I lived on the north side of Indianapolis. One year later, I can say that leading this Small Group has become one of the greatest joys and experiences I have had in my faith journey so far.
How I Became A Leader
For several years, I was a member of a male-only Small Group: a place where I built wonderful relationships with men and learned how to care for people well. Eventually, that Small Group became a huge Small Group and needed to multiply.
After some prayer, consideration and a conversation with my group, I embarked on the mission of sending out my first Small Group invitations and thinking through how I wanted to create this new community.
What Does Community Look Like?
When I sat down to think through what I wanted my Small Group to base its foundation upon, the Spirit called to mind Hebrews 10:24-25:
Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
These verses contain three dynamics that our group is built upon.
1. Love and Good Deeds
A unique way we enjoy loving each other well is to regularly practice generosity within our group.
During the first year as a group, one member became particularly ill and was going through a rough season in life. So we all gathered at the local Target, grabbed some items we knew she would love and hand-delivered them to her home. She was overwhelmed to the point of tears that we recognized her need and sought to love her in this way. As leaders and group members, we should constantly consider how we can love someone else through a deed, even a small one.
2. Don’t Neglect Meeting Together
Our group meets bi-monthly to study the Bible together. But we also meet informally in a more intimate setting: getting together in smaller pairs where we can just chat and discuss personal life. This has allowed for moments where we can gain deeper insight and know how to pray for each other’s struggles.
Let’s never forget the importance of consistent contact and communication with one another; this is how intimacy can be bound together and truth can flow freely between us.
3. Encourage One Another
Every time we meet as a group we spend time praying personally for one another. And every time a question is asked, there is ample room for hearts to share as needed.
We resist the urge to speak over one another and make sure to uplift each other however we can: whether through our conversations or when we’re studying the Word.
Let’s always be praying for one another. Don’t hesitate to encourage someone else; you never know when that is the word that they need to hear.
This Small Group is Our Small Group
Yes, I do lead a Small Group, but more importantly, I live within a community. I am able to encourage, be encouraged, and bring people together so that they can continue to love one another well and I can also be loved. Every member of the Small Group community plays a special part in that.