Sunday, December 15, 2013

Why Community is important for Adults, Students and Children:

Ever since I was a kid I hated going to Sunday school/small group.  I always got in trouble during Sunday school as a kid and had to be taken to my parents for discipline.  I will never forget when I was in the 7th grade and during Sunday school our class had a spit-wad fight…nor will I ever forget what happen to me when my dad found out about it. I did have some great teachers through the years, I just strongly disliked going each week.  This mindset about Sunday school/Small Groups stayed with me even into adulthood. 

Even as a pastor, I continued to cringe at the idea of a small group, until about 6 months ago.  I thought, why do I need to be in a small group, I am a pastor. Arrogance… I know. 

Then this last January, Jennifer and I joined a small group with some friends.  As a result, it has become one of the highlights of my week.  We have made some amazing friends through small group and weekly have healthy fellowship with other adults about life and where we are spiritually. 

In my book –“Checkpoints”, we even wrote a whole chapter on why community is important & I would again say, it is a must for a healthy spiritual walk & lifestyle. 

Quote from Checkpoints – (buy checkpoints HERE)

“True Christian community is hard work but it is the most fulfilling investment of time and energy you will ever make.  If done correctly you will cultivate deep friendships that will last the rest of your life.  It is the primary instrument God has chosen to shape you into the image of His Son.  By its very nature it protects you from isolation as a friend’s unconditional acceptance challenges you to live life out in the open.  It is an environment promoting maturity as conflict is consistently addressed in a healthy way, where forgiveness is sought and freely given, and positive peer pressure surrounds you.  It diligently guards against bitterness and anger, tactics of the Enemy that seek to supplant unity.  Christian community cultivates an environment of trust as each member openly shares every facet of his life with brothers who care, not just with their words but their actions.  Men who live in true Christian community make time for each other and hold each other accountable to living a life set apart from the world.” 

5 thoughts on why I think all adults, students and children should be involved in a small group:
1.     The Bible instructs it. 
2.     We all need healthy, godly friendships to keep us on track.
3.     Your kids need to see you making spiritual community important.  Our Sunday night small group is also one of our kids favorite parts of the week as well.  They actually get a lot out of it as their babysitters typically do a bible story & verse of the week with them, while we are upstairs meeting as adults. 
4.     It lets you see that you’re not alone. That others are dealing with issues or struggles as well. 
5.     It gives you people you can trust and depend on.  When hard times arise, you’re surrounded with encouragement, love & support from a group of people that genuinely care about you and your family.

Debauching 5 excuses about why not to be involved in a group:
1.     “We don’t have any babysitters” – Ask your youth pastor at your church to help with this.  You should be able to have some great students within your church who can help commit to come for a couple of hours each week.  You always can find a babysitter and a good one if it is important to you!  
2.     “We can’t afford to pay a babysitter weekly.” – I would say you can’t afford NOT to do this! If you split the cost w/ your whole small group then it is only a few dollars each week, which is a pretty cheap investment into the spiritual vitality of your life and marriage. 
3.     “I am just too busy” – Well, aren’t we all?!  Who is not busy these days?  You always can make time for what is important to you.  Change your priorities.  Stop saying you can’t and trying say ‘I can’. 
4.     “I get enough “Bible” teaching at church.” – It is not about “getting more of the bible” it is about developing healthy community in your life and marriage.
5.     “I will have to talk in front of people.” – Yes… but you don’t have to answer all the questions and I would bet that after just a few weeks you would get comfortable and start opening up.   

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