Where I come from small groups (especially ones for Jesus) are a relatively new phenomenon. I guess when I was younger, we had small groups, but nobody called them that, and most of us didn’t recognize the benefits that arise from being members of one. My first introduction was when I went on a “Walk to Emmaus”, and they talked about being a member of a “Reunion Group”, which was defined as: 3-5 people who meet together once a week to review how they’re doing in their walk with Jesus; to answer one or more of seven questions about things like: 1] Closest moment to God; 2] Discipleship denied, 3] Discipleship confirmed, and a few others. They called it an “accountability” group. That always sounded like you had a list of things you were supposed to be doing, and the other members of the group were supposed to hold you accountable, if you fail to live up to your duties as a Christian. I almost didn’t join a Reunion Group because of the crushing weight of being held accountable. However, it turns out to be a lot more about love, and a lot less about accountability.
I’m a member of three “small groups” now. Two of them would loosely fall under the umbrella of Emmaus Reunion Groups. The other one I’ve been having with my daughter (and a few others) early on Saturday mornings for more than 10 years. Now that group includes my favorite son-in-law. It’s the best of the lot, even though the others are truly a blessing as well.
Like I said, these groups are not at all about accountability. They’re about love, encouragement and support; about getting to tell each other our stories about what God is doing in our lives, how He’s moving; and about the opportunities we have to be used by Him to touch other people. It’s all about the joy of getting to share our stories about God’s love. One of the groups meets on Wed. for breakfast, in the back room at Denny’s. It’s been going on for more than 20 years I think. I’ve been a member for about 14 years, and an average of 10 to 15 guys show up every week. It’s absolutely amazing to hear what the 19 members of the group are involved in for Jesus. Some are leaders of cell groups at their church that meet in homes during the week. Some work Habitat for Humanity. Two work for “Tax-Aid” which helps old people and indigents prepare their taxes. Six or seven of us work with Kairos Prison Ministry in several prisons in our area. One brother has a primary ministry of picking up hitchhikers, taking them where they need to go, and praying for them when they get there. Another brother has a prayer ministry, where he asks almost everyone he meets, “Do you have something I could pray for you about?” Some say no, and then come back and tell him. Prayer is a big deal to a number of the brothers.
Guess I should quit writing. Maybe I can say more in a later post. Just want you to know, it’s a life-sharing experience to be a member of one of God’s small groups.