What are the Benefits of Small Groups?

 In Tori Smith

Last month, the kids went to a Christian ranch camp. It was Deandra’s second time at camp and her second camp this summer. It was Wyatt’s first time at an overnight camp. Deandra had had such a great time at her diabetic camp I wasn’t sure how she would like the ranch camp where, once again, she would be the different one because of her diabetes. And I wasn’t sure how Wyatt would do at an overnight camp. He’s only gone to day camps the past few years. But we packed the car with everything they could possibly need for the week and I dropped them off at the door of their respective cabins.

A week later I returned to collect them and their stuff. To my wonderful joy, God had not failed to show up and touch each of them! The ride home was filled with stories of favorite times and meals and new things they tried. What most filled my heart with joy was the way both of them had grown closer to God over the week. Both came back singing Christian songs. In fact, on the ride home, when they weren’t talking, they were singing the songs they had learned over the week. They sang songs like The Getty’s “The Power of the Cross”, “Our God is an Awesome God”, “I love you Lord” and other songs that I knew because we have been singing them in the church for years.

More important than even the stories and singing, was the emphasis on scripture. All week long they were encouraged to read and memorize scripture. When we left the ranch, we went to a hotel to spend the night so we could start home early the next morning. Wyatt quickly crashed and was down for the night. But, Deandra put on Wyatt’s newly acquired cowboy hat and sat in a chair with her bible open.

I wouldn’t necessarily call her camp experience a small group experience. But all week she spent her group devotional time thinking about one passage of scripture. Because of that time in the scripture and with others thinking through the scripture, she was drawn closer to God. For me, that’s what small groups are all about. A place where we can feel safe to be with others in God’s presence. A place where we can pray together, laugh together, journey together, draw close to God together. This past year I’ve been in a small group where we have been forced out of our comfort zones and given permission to fail and have witnessed God showing up week after week.

As we approach the fall, I encourage each of you to be intentional about joining a small group or a Sunday school class. We have ongoing existing groups that will be open for you to join as well as some new groups starting on Sunday mornings. Be sure to come to the annual community group fair on August 25th and see what groups are being offered this year. Be open to finding a place where you will be able to meet with the Lord and get to know others. Being in a small group truly does make a difference in your spiritual journey.

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  • Patty Buck

    I think a small group is a wonderful place to grown in Christ. I learn something new all the time by listening to answers and comments from others. Our eyes, ears and hearts can be opened to many avenues of what we believe or what we think.

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