- Sunday: 9:00am-10:15am & 10:45am-12:00
It is true. I need my small group. I'm in a Connect Class at Crossroads, and I have been a part of the class for almost two years now. I have been a teacher, a co-teacher, and a member of the group, but one thing has remained consistent—I need that small group of men and women in my life. Let me tell you why.
First, I need my small group because they keep me praying. We start our class around 9am, when members begin to arrive. We chat, we laugh, we catch up. Then, at 9:30 we begin taking prayer requests. We spend fifteen or twenty minutes talking about what is going on in our lives and praying for one another. We post those prayer requests in our Facebook group so we can pray for one another throughout the week. Our members know that if they have something going on in their lives that needs prayer, our class will be praying for them. And I know they are praying for me.
I don't know about you, but I need that camaraderie and that face-to-face interaction to keep me praying. We tend to pray about the things we care about, and it is very easy for us to begin caring only about ourselves. My Connect Class, however, is God's way of constantly keeping other people and their needs at the forefront of my mind. It keeps me humble, and it keeps me praying. For our group prayer requests are serious business. We don't get too many of the "Please pray for my coworker's mother-in-law's friend's hip surgery" type requests. We pray about wayward children, broken marriages, divorce, chronic illnesses, cancer, job loss. Our prayer request time isn't for the faint of heart. There may be lots of tears. It won't be comfortable. But God is at work, and when it is my time to share, I know people will be praying for me.
Second, I need my small group because they keep me in God's Word. We spend almost an hour every Sunday studying God's Word. I need that. I teach the Bible for a living, but it is all too easy to make the Bible work and thus grow to not love it quite so much. It is all too easy to make the Bible a book for someone else, for my students, and not for me. My Connect Class, however, would never let me get away with that. We study through books of the Bible. We read the Scripture. We wrestle with the Scripture. We apply the Scripture. Our class likes to ask hard questions, and we don't shy away from difficult applications. It keeps us in the Word and on our toes. And sometimes the truth hurts, but God is good, so we aren't afraid.
We also don't leave the Bible at Church on Sunday. We have homework. We read the passage during the week. We pray the Scripture together. We meditate on the Scripture together. We memorize the Scripture together. We even have some Sundays where our class members share what they've been memorizing. It's a blast. I need that.
Third, I need my small group because they keep me serving. I'm sure I'm not all that different from you. I've got family to worry about (a wife and two kids). I've got a full-time job and a part-time job. I'm busy. We're all pretty busy. And left to myself, I doubt I'd be very much "salt and light" in our community. But my Connect Class serves. We serve our community. We have a partnership with a local elementary school. We do campus beautification for them. We buy their most needy kids backpacks and Christmas presents. We deliver all kinds of goodies to their teachers. I love being a part of that. I need to be a part of that, but there is no way I'd do that on my own. I need my Connect Class to keep me serving.
So, in case I haven't been very clear . . . I need my small group. They need me. We need each other. That shouldn't be a surprise though. God's Word is very clear:
"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near." (Hebrews 10:24-25)
God made us to fellowship, and he made the Church, the body of Christ, for fellowship. It's almost like he knew we'd need it.
By Ed Gravely