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SIX REASONS WHY WE ARE COMMITTED TO SMALL GROUPS

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Intro

What are Small Groups?
Small Groups are uncommon communities applying God’s truth in everyday life. • Uncommon communities
Small Groups are uncommon communities applying God’s truth in everyday life. • Uncommon communities
John 17:20–23 ESV
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
) • Applying God’s truth () • In everyday life ()
• Applying God’s truth
2 Timothy 3:16–17 ESV
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
) • In everyday life ()
• In everyday life
1 Timothy 4:15 ESV
Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.
SIX REASONS WHY WE ARE COMMITTED TO SMALL GROUPS
Small Groups are uncommon communities applying God’s truth in everyday life. • Uncommon communities () • Applying God’s truth () • In everyday life ()
1. Because they are biblical ()
2. Because they are the only ways to shepherd the whole flock (,)
3. Because they encourage the use of spiritual gifts ()
4. Because they multiply competent ministers ()
5. Because they foster biblical love ()
6. Because they promote unity and fellowship (, )

1. Because they are biblical ()

44 And all who believed were together...And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous
Acts 2:44–46 ESV
And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,
The EARLY CHURCH made disciples in the context of small groups. I think at times we have a distorted perspective about the church. It is not only this BIG gathering crowd, its believers meeting in SMALL groups as well. Listen to the pattern in these passages:
1. I think at times we get distorted about our perspective about the church
2. It is not only this BIG gathering crowd, its believers meeting in
SMALL groups as well
()
1. When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting
()
42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ
()
12 [Peter] went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.
()
20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house
That’s part of the biblical basis for SG’s, through which our walk with Christ is maintained and grows.

2. Because they are the only ways to shepherd the whole flock (,)

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds[c] and teachers,[d] 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
4:11 Paul’s description here of particular roles (or offices) in the Church resembles his description in , but includes additional roles and does not include others (see note on ). These roles are for advancing God’s work in the world through the Church. Apostles - Refers to those who are sent out by Christ to speak and act with special authority. See note on ; note on .
Prophets - Refers to those who are designated by God to speak on His behalf. See note on ; note on .
Evangelists - Refers to those who proclaim the truth of the gospel and call others to live by Jesus’ standards (compare ; ).
Pastors - Refers to those who care for, or protect, the Church. Since the Greek word used here, poimēn, literally means “shepherd” and is often translated as such, this role corresponds with the New Testament portrayal of the Church as God’s flock (; ).
Teachers - Indicates those who faithfully pass on the teachings of Christ and the apostles, especially through explaining or applying Scripture (compare ).
Building up the body of Christ - Refers to strengthening the Church and helping it grow.
Building up the body of Christ - Refers to strengthening the Church and helping it grow.
The VISION for small group participation at Harvest Bible Chapel is that Ministry is PUSHED AWAY from primary leaders. Why?
a. Ministry is PUSHED AWAY from primary leaders
1. We want to equip the saints to do work of ministry, as opposed to doing the ministry ourselves
2. It’s like giving you the tools in my tool belt, trusting God to replace them, and you doing the same
3. Ministry is not just for pastors and elders!

3. Because they encourage the use of spiritual gifts/ Mutual Ministry ()

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts,[e] yet one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
Spiritual gifts are tools God gives Christians to do the work of the ministry -- to ful􀃒ll the Great
Commission to reach, baptize, and teach and to minister to one another. Every Christian receives at least
one gift at the moment of salvation. Spiritual gifts are not rewards, are not natural talents, are not a
place of service, are not an age-group ministry, and are not a specialty ministry. They express
themselves through various ministries which, in turn, accomplish a variety of results.
A spiritual gift is the primary channel by which the Holy Spirit ministers the believer. It is a supernatural
capacity for service to God -- and He gives you a supernatural desire to perform the duties of that gift.
Spiritual gifts are tools for building the church. They are a source of joy in your Christian life and
influence your motives. A spiritual gift is a divine calling with a divine responsibility, because what God
has gifted you to do, He has called you to do, and what He has called you to do, He has gifted you to do.
Mutual ministry is how Spiritual gifts are put into practice.
Mutual Ministry () • Mutual ministry is not just an element of Small Groups; it is the ethos or culture of the Small Group. • Small Groups are not about one person ministering to a group of people, but rather the group ministering to each other, both during and outside of group time.
Mutual Ministry () • Mutual ministry is not just an element of Small Groups; it is the ethos or culture of the Small Group. • Small Groups are not about one person ministering to a group of people, but rather the group ministering to each other, both during and outside of group time. Understanding the purpose of spiritual gifts goes a long way in helping us think more clearly about their use. Clearly, spiritual gifts are not given for self-promotion or self-profiting. Spiritual gifts are given for the common good (, , ). Literally, spiritual gifts (charismata) are given for profitability (). The context in and the statements in and 26 (add to this the parallel ideas in ), help us to see that profitability refers not to self, but to others. Small groups provide an excellent outlet for the practicing of spiritual gifts.
Mutual Ministry () • Mutual ministry is not just an element of Small Groups; it is the ethos or culture of the Small Group. • Small Groups are not about one person ministering to a group of people, but rather the group ministering to each other, both during and outside of group time. Understanding the purpose of spiritual gifts goes a long way in helping us think more clearly about their use. Clearly, spiritual gifts are not given for self-promotion or self-profiting. Spiritual gifts are given for the common good (, , ). Literally, spiritual gifts (charismata) are given for profitability (). The context in and the statements in and 26 (add to this the parallel ideas in ), help us to see that profitability refers not to self, but to others. Small groups provide an excellent outlet for the practicing of spiritual gifts.

5 ways we can mutually minister to each other:

Love One Another – Care Intentionally

, ;
Be earnest in my love at all times.
Always speak the truth in love.
Listen to understand; don’t assume or accuse.
Pray for one another with compassion.

1. Serve One Another – Minister Actively

, ; ;
Be intentional in blessing others.
Stay teachable and show deference.
Be flexible to meet situational needs.
Maximize my strengths and recognize my constraints.
Be committed to the whole, not just the part.

2. Forgive One Another - Pursue Unity

; ;
Be quick to forgive and ask forgiveness.
Let personal offenses roll off my back or to God in prayer.
Model unity by resolving conflict quickly.
Get the whole story, including both sides in personal conflict.

Serve One Another – Minister Actively

, ; ;
Be intentional in blessing others.
Stay teachable and show deference.
Be flexible to meet situational needs.
Maximize my strengths and recognize my constraints.
Be committed to the whole, not just the part.

3. Submit To One Another – Esteem Others Highly

; ; ;
Be the first to lead in humility and honor.
Serve others’ interests before my own.
Check my motives and expectations before speaking.
Know my limits and respect the boundaries of others.

4. Encourage One Another – Cultivate Redemptive Relationships

; ;
Be a safe person to get real with.
Seek to build up always and never tear down.
Compliment other’s character when it comes to mind more than once.
Value the person more than their performance.
Point to Christ for hope and help.
SMALL
GROUPS

5. Be Devoted To One Another – Commit Wholeheartedly

; ;
Be there in the hard times.
Seek reconciliation between others.
Guard my relationships with truth and love.
and love.
Go gently if correction is needed.
Understanding the purpose of spiritual gifts goes a long way in helping us think more clearly about mutually minitering to each other by their use.
Clearly, spiritual gifts are not given for self-promotion or self-profiting. Spiritual gifts are given for the common good (, , ). Literally, spiritual gifts (charismata) are given for profitability (). The context in and the statements in and 26 (add to this the parallel ideas in ), help us to see that profitability refers not to self, but to others. Small groups provide an excellent outlet for the practicing of spiritual gifts.

4. Because they multiply competent ministers ()

2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men,[a] who will be able to teach others also.
Multiplication () • Healthy things grow and multiply. • Multiplied discipleship leads to multiplied ministry and leadership
Paul is writing here to Timothy. And Timothy, having been strengthened by God’s dynamic grace, was to serve as a teacher. Paul’s chief concern in giving this command was not merely to transmit beliefs through the proper ecclesiastical channels. Paul had a deep concern for the truth of the gospel in Ephesus. He would later ask Timothy to leave Ephesus and join him in Rome (4: 9,21). Paul wanted Timothy to pass gospel truths to reliable men, in other worths they had to develop competency. These trustworthy men could keep their home and Church secure against heresy. We are a church that is listening, learning, refining, and pushing to be on the leading edge of discipleship ministry. When we learn something new or think of a new way to apply and ingrain established wisdom, we want to pass that along to our small group coaches, who in turn pass it along to our leaders, who in turn passes it on to our small group members. This is one of the best ways we’ve found to follow Paul’s example as we aim to deepen the richness of our Small Group ministry.

5. Because they foster biblical love ()

35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Many have noted that these two verses seem to interrupt the flow of the discussion in terms of Jesus’ departure, which was initiated in the previous verse and will be picked up again in v. 36. But as will be indicated at that point, the focus there is different from v. 33. In the present verses the focus is upon the community that Jesus will establish as a result of his Passover departure. Its distinctive quality was to be marked by a new commandment. That new commandment is Love.
What better way to foster love than to love ppl who at times may be difficult to love!
Like the previous summation statements, which are related to other parts of John, this statement is clearly related to verses in the central passage of the Farewell Cycle (), where the commandment to love is reasserted.
Love One Another means to care Intentionally. How can we do that?
Love One Another – Care Intentionally
, ;
Be earnest in my love at all times.
Always speak the truth in love.
Listen to understand; don’t assume or accuse.
Pray for one another with compassion.

6. Because they promote unity and fellowship (, )

3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
This word fellowship is an important one in the vocabulary of a Christian. It simply means “to have in common.” As sinners, men have nothing in common with the holy God. But God in His grace sent Christ to have something in common with men. Christ took on Himself a human body and became a man. Then He went to the cross and took on that body the sins of the world (). Because He paid the price for our sins, the way is open for God to forgive us and take us into His family. When we trust Christ, we become “partakers of the divine nature” What a thrilling miracle! Jesus Christ took on Himself the nature of man that by faith we may receive the very nature of God!
a church cannot exist for any length of time without these 2 essentials. Unity and fellowship.
9 Practices of A Committed Small Group Member
1. I will make my small group meetings a priority, and if I’m unable to attend or running late, I will call ahead. 2. I will come to my small group meeting prepared and ready to participate. 3. I will commit to my small group to focus on application of God’s Word to my life. 4. I will maintain confidentiality of the personal information that is shared within my small group. I understand my small group leader may communicate appropriate information to those in leadership as necessary, and I trust his or her discernment in this. 5. I will be accountable to my small group concerning my personal and spiritual goals. 6. I will commit to a small group that is open to new members, and as it grows, we will seek to multiply to further God’s work. 7. I will encourage other members to cultivate a daily quiet time with God. 8. I will pursue opportunities to share what God has done in our lives with those that do not know Jesus Christ.
9. I will pray and support the leadership of this church to continue to seek God’s direction for our Small Group Ministry.
9. I will pray and support the leadership of this church to continue to seek God’s direction for our Small Group Ministry.
I will pray and support the leadership of this church to continue to seek God’s direction for our
Small Group Ministry.
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