One of things that you will often hear during the sermons at Grafted as an application is that we should all go and talk about what the sermon encouraged you to do with the rest of your small group.
One of the things that our church wants to do is to serve those who are in transition, and the people who will know that there is a transition happening in your life is your small group, and GCC relies on small groups to help bear the load of serving one another or seeking for help if they cannot pull it off on their own.
One of the things that is a reality during Sundays at GCC is that it is hard to connect with folks before and after the service at the building. So many of us are setting up or tearing down and cleaning, there are kiddos running around everywhere, and (from a time standpoint) we are trying to thread the needle between nap time for the littles in the afternoon and dinner for everyone. [This is one of the reasons why we do the Call to Action the way we do, but that is another post.] And so while we are unable to major on community on Sundays we encourage community in the weekly small groups and for everyone to be involved in a small group if they are able.
One of the phrases that you can find me, Pastor Dave, saying on a regular basis in the sermons online is something like, “everyone needs to eat, just get together and eat at the same time at the same place.” Small Groups are a great place to practice eating with people who are not exactly like you.
Talking about spiritual topics, helping those in transition, connecting with others, and eating together (even when it is uncomfortable) all add up to someone experiencing an incredibly rich expression of community… but it doesn’t mean that those groups are actually helping people become disciples of Jesus and be fully committed members in His Forever Family. Jesus said in Matthew (7:21-23)
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”
Not everyone who does religious things actually knows Jesus, has a personal relationship with Him, and is a part of His Forever Family. Not everyone who is experiencing Christian Community knows God.
Our Small Groups, when they are working well, provide a picture of what it looks like to be the church if someone were never able to make it to church on a Sunday. But our Small Groups, when they become the end goal instead of the means to connect people to knowing God through Jesus, can get in the way because the provide people with the false impression that they are a part of the Family of God because they are doing religious things.
Is your small group centered on knowing and following Christ using community as a tool to get there, or is it centered on being a part of a community where Christ happens to be mentioned every once in a while?