1. You will understand the Bible better in a small group.
If you’ve ever listened to a sermon 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 one way communication. You listen while the speaker speaks. It’s fine for imparting knowledge but not as effective for personal application as a small group. 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.
Sometimes people say after a service, “That was really helpful but it would be good if I could sit down with some others and think through the implications of your message today.” Our Growth Groups often use the Sunday morning message outline as a Bible discussion guide.
2. You will begin to really feel like part of God’s family.
Most people who have been a part of a Growth Group say the greatest benefit is the close relationships and friendships that develop. 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.
Over fifty times in the New Testament the phrase “one another” is used to describe our relationship to 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. One of the best ways to obey these commands is in a Growth Group! We really do need each other. We were never meant to go it alone in the Christian life. If you’re lonely in the church, the answer to your problem is to join a Growth Group.
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 8 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.
Growth 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 practical needs that can naturally be taken care of through your Growth Group. Your group may be able to co-ordinate the sharing of hot meals to be brought in when/if your family is in need.
5. You will have a natural way to share Christ with friends, relatives, and work associates.
It may be that some of your friends who don’t know the Lord wouldn’t be seen dead in a church. They have a preconceived idea and just the thought makes them defensive. But those same people may be open to an invitation to a casual Bible discussion in a home or office setting. In a Growth Group, your unbelieving friend can ask questions and express honest doubts without feeling “put on the spot”. When your friend sees the love and warmth and honesty of your group, it may make him/her more receptive to the Good News.
6. You will have opportunities to use gifts and skills you never knew you had
The Bible teaches that every believer is given certain talents or “gifts” to benefit others in the family of God. Unfortunately, if we spend most of our Christian lives in large Sunday morning meetings, we can remain uninvolved because by definition large group meetings are primarily situations where we “sit and listen”. But as you share and participate in a relaxed Growth Group setting, there are opportunities to be involved in a variety of ways in the life of the group.
7. You will deepen your understanding of worship.
Many believers mistakenly believe that worship can only happen on Sunday morning when there are large numbers and a music group! Worship happens whenever we focus on God. Sometimes that happens best in a smaller group in praying or singing together.
8. You will be a New Testament Christian!
The book of Acts is very clear that at the beginning the early church usually met together in homes. While church buildings, and in our Layton Community Church, can be a great blessing to us, we miss out on an essential dynamic of building the church if we ignore this dimension of church life.
Consider these verses
“They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Every day they continued to meet together… they broke bread in their homes and ate together… and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42, 44, 46-47
“Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the Good News that Jesus is the Christ.” Acts 5:42
“Greet also the church that meets at their house.” Rom. 16:5
“Aquilla and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord and so does the church that meets at their house.” I Cor. 16: 19
“Give my greetings…to Nympha and the church in her house.” Col. 4: 15
Growth Groups have an incredible potential under God to strengthen the life and witness of the church. Growth Groups have these eight benefits that no believer can afford to pass up. If you are not participating in a group, why not join one this week?