I’ve been thinking about spiritual disciplines lately. Wondering at how we were created to live. Spiritual disciplines are difficult. They don’t seem to come naturally. But I have found that the very best things tend to be uncomfortable. That the biggest avenues of growth are most often, the most difficult ones.
And so I find myself led to a new series of blog posts. I can’t promise their frequency. However, many have already been written in my heart and on my mind. And I am looking forward to getting the words down.
You know I love community. I love the bond that develops between neighbors. The way parents unite for their children, as they create community within the PTO and at youth events. I love the community found within the church. Each of us are a part of so many different communities.
But one of my my favorite communities is that of a small group. It’s even better when you are part of a group with some of your very best friends.
Greg and I lead a small group every other week. Our group is a comfortable one. It’s one that’s made for everyone, we don’t have an ideal demographic. Though currently made up of families, we believe that there is so much grace when people in different stages of life come together. Because the people that sharpen us, that encourage us, that move us towards more are the very ones that seem completely different from us. They are the people whose giftings are different; the people who are in a different stage of life; the people that see the world, that see people differently.
Iron sharpens iron,
and one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)
Our small group enjoys time together. We spend time living life and discussing our lives together. Honestly, it grew naturally as we studied the Bible together. We have decided to read a chapter of the Bible before each gathering. When we meet, we discuss the chapter together. We have decided to forgo a book study of the Bible, because we know the power of the Word. Book studies and devotionals are beautiful and certainly, a means for growth. But we know that learning how to study the Bible is vitally important. We see our small group as a tool to grow another spiritual discipline: studying the Bible. One of my very favorite parts of our small group is the way we have all grown in seeing the Bible as more approachable.
As a small group host/leader that has a houseful of children, we have built a small group that welcomes children. We have a time of devotion with our children, on the same reading we will be covering. And because children see what we are doing: meeting as Biblical community; we invite them to come join our gathering, as they choose. They usually spend their time playing together, building their own communities. But the littlest ones sit at our feet, toddling back and forth between adults.
A beautiful reminder of what community is: a joint venture of different people. Choosing to live life together. Choosing to walk with our families, raising our littles, encouraging us to more. Together.
We came up with this adaptation to our small group meetings because of our own children. Man Child would ask if that particular day was a small group day. He would ask if our friends and our sitter were coming. And it struck us, that we were doing this wrong. Our children knew what we were doing, they saw our meeting, they heard our discussions. And then were asked to step out of that space. We intentionally excluded our children from a beautiful lesson. A lesson about friendship, about growth. About community.
And so, for this last season of small groups, we’ve altered our perspective. We’ve remembered that this group isn’t all about the adults. It isn’t only about learning to read our Bible well. It isn’t only about encouraging our friends. But it’s about raising another generation to see what biblical community is. To understand the benefits of deep, intentional community.
Biblical community isn’t only about the raising up of ourselves or our friends. But it is about the raising up of our families. To know God better. To live the way He created us to live. And to do it all more fully.
I would love to hear about your community! What makes it great? What are your favorite tips or tricks to making community work?