October 24, 2011

Spiritual Disciplines XXV: Small Groups

How Small Groups Have Affected Me

Small men’s groups had a profound effect on pulling me deeper into the faith. I had been in the faith earlier in my life and drifted away because of the often emotionless ritual of the Roman Catholic Church and the overt emotionalism of the more extreme aspects of the Assemblies of God and Pentecostalism that my parents drifted into as I hit my teen years. When I came back to the faith I encountered a small group of approximately 8 men that gradually increased to 20 or 30 that showed me that Christianity is not the faceless money grubbing machine but rather fellowship (koinonia). These men actually care about me and I them. It was when I began having small gatherings and taking my family to associate and fellowship with their families that I learned what true Christianity was about.

Importance of Small Koinonia

The effects of the aforementioned relationships have had a profound effect on my life. In my previous backslidden condition if someone of the same sex had been this close to me or cared this much not having been a relative, I’d have been convinced they were gay. It then dawns on me that we are indeed relatives in the family and fellowship in Christ. The problem with me having formerly though this way is that I had fallen victim to the culture that said that that men are to essentially be practicing stoics with a coarse outward exterior and are rugged individualist American cowboys. Rugged is fine but there is little room for individualistic attitudes in the Body of Christ. I have news for people, cowboys traveled together in loosely knit groups...but they were still groups with a common goal. Had they not fellowshipped an actually gotten along to some extent…men would've died and steer or other livestock would’ve never made it to market and this country wouldn’t have even been built. We also saw the importance of small groups with the Disciples in Jesus' ministry. From this small band of men and their associates we now have the Christian faith which emcompasses the globe in some shape or form.

What To Look For In Small Groups

The best possible group I can imagine would be a group like the disciples that, although they may not be perfect, they would have a heart for God. They would be obedient to the call of God. They would be honorable and upright people that would bring no ill-repute to themselves or to the corporate body. They would all have their unique gifts from God working together to bring honor to God and they would honorably discharge their duties that God has given them to do. They would pray often and think of God even more. Living by the code God has laid down for us all, not as individuals but as believers in koinonia.


Stephen Phillip Porter said...

A couple of friends of mine started a church in Fargo, ND that has a great take on the small group: Missional Community

Manifest Blog

Andy Pierson said...

Very good sir.

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