Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Small Fellowship Groups

Ecclesiastes 4:12

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Life ChangeA men’s ministry I was blessed to work with in years gone by used a very similar passage as their base Scripture – Proverbs 27:17 – As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. They believed that part of the benefit of being in fellowship together was the way they could enhance each other’s walk with Christ. They called themselves Iron to Iron. They met monthly for a meeting. Many of them were in the same weekly Bible Study and Sunday School class. We had 25-30 men in a weekly Bible Study and over 80 adults in one class for Sunday School. It was a time of great spiritual growth. A number of the men took road trips together to Promise Keeper events. One such event was Stand in the Gap in Washington – DC – on October 4, 1997. I was there and reports are – so were nearly 3 million men. It was a life experience I will never forget.

I mentioned recently – to our current Bible Studies – that part of the reason we spend the first portion of our studies talking about praises and prayer concerns is to get to know one another better. Small group ministries are very important. I would imagine that upwards of 50% of a typical congregation only attend worship each week with the church family. If folks only spend an hour plus with one another a week – with the pastor – with the family of God – at their local place of worship – they will not know each other well. Spending time in a small group where one could ask questions – where others can interject their thoughts – always opens up dialogue.

Today’s passage speaks to me about the strength we can gain from fellowship together. When I go through tough times – I not only turn to my wife and my family – I turn to sisters and brothers of faith – often from my local church. Here’s today’s passage again. Ecclesiastes 4:12 – Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Two or more can be so supportive. Eight to twelve even more so.

Have you ever gone into a place where you felt uncomfortable? Maybe it was because of the surroundings. Maybe it was because of the circumstance. Maybe it was because you didn’t know anyone in that setting. Maybe it was the unknown. Maybe it was coming to a new church for the first time. I know when I face such times – I turn to those that are close to me. The larger that circle – the more I feel like someone has my back. When we recently entered the prison at MCI-J – it was comforting to me to have hundreds if not thousands of people praying for that weekend. When I had surgery – on both shoulders – a year a part – it was a blessing to know folks I could turn to for support and help understanding the results. I wouldn’t have known this had we not been in a small group together. In those small groups – Bible Studies – Facebook groups – basketball friends – we talked about their surgeries and had prayer. I was able to face the unknown with a little more confidence – because I had fellowship with folks that had faced what I was about to face.

I want to urge our readers today to join a small group. At our church we have five adult classes on Sunday morning and Pastor Trevor is going to begin a new class soon (and I lead periodic classes too). We also have Bible Studies on Tuesday morning (10:30 am) and evening (7 pm). We also have a group that meets on Monday night and Thursday night. Find one that fits your schedule and join. The small group setting is so welcoming and inviting. In these groups we get to know one another much better than on Sunday morning in worship alone. Join a small group soon. The fellowship and spiritual growth are well worth the time!

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

May 10, 2019 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. This one really hit home with me, Ray, so thanks for that. Yes, small groups can help a person grow in Christ for edification, worship, witness, and mission. It’s part of what John Wesley called the process of sanctification, growing the grace of God together. Isn’t any surprise that Jesus chose just twelve to join his earthly ministry. Men need a place to grow as men. Women as women. And in mixed groups, too. Keep writing these, Ray, you are making a difference, in small groups and to large audiences, to God’s glory!

    Like

    Comment by Favorite Son | May 10, 2019 | Reply

  2. Excellent message Rev Ray

    Like

    Comment by Thomas Tholl | May 10, 2019 | Reply


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