Sharing OurselvesSeries: What Is Church?
Why Small Groups?
By now, you’ve heard. We are wanting to do small groups at Woodsfield. By now, if you’re cynical (like me), you’ve probably thought, “Haven’t we already tried that here?” “That won’t work.” “What’s wrong with our regular Bible classes at the building?” I’d like to share a few thoughts on the reasoning for (and objections to) small groups. My intention is not to argue you into agreement (although if everyone agreed with me the world would just be so much better ), but to help give some thoughts as to why this is being done.
One of the most common objections heard about small groups is that it’s a fad. And, that objection is partly right. Small groups became a buzzword in church circles several decades ago as churches were rethinking how they were gathering and desired to make changes that fit needs of a changing world. So, in one sense, small groups as a fad would be a correct description. However, the reality is that small groups have been around for as long as Christianity has existed—long before they became a fad.
In Acts 2:46 and 5:42, we get glimpses of how the early Christians met. In one sense, they met all together for corporate worship, at the temple. Early Christians were Jewish. They continued to meet at the temple to worship God together. But, they also began meeting in homes—“house to house.” There is a reason for this. When was the last time you really got to know your brother or sister standing in a church parking lot talking after service? Probably never. The chit-chat is nice after worship, but when it comes down to really getting to know people, in homes and around a table is where it’s at. If you are over 50, you remember the days when families ate together every night at the dinner table. This was the time where you got to talk about your day, what was going on at school, and listen to Mom or Dad impart wisdom and help you with life. None of that changes as we get older. We still need those “table talks.” We need them with our earthly family, and we need them with our spiritual family as well. Life is shared around the table and in the living room. The Bible is learned in a different setting and relationships are solidified. The early Christians knew this. In many ways, those “house to house” meetings were what gave them the strength to endure all that they would encounter as they took their faith across the world.
Our corporate worship will always be a cornerstone for our identity as a body. We gather in worship as one body on the first day of the week to praise our Savior, listen to God’s Word preached, and share the Lord’s Supper together as one. These are things that cannot happen in the same way in a living room. But, just the same, there are many things that happen in a living room that cannot be experienced in a group of 200 other believers. There is a need for both and room for both in the life of the church.