Why join a Life Group?

Why join a Life Group?

The story is told that Charles Spurgeon, the great pastor and preacher, once visited a man who had neglected to attend his church for some time. The man confessed that he was still a Christian but felt that church attendance was unnecessary. Without saying a word, Spurgeon took the tongs from the fireplace and removed one coal, setting it in the corner of the fireplace away from the others. It soon went out and grew cold. The man got the message – that the coals in a fire need each other to stay hot, and likewise Christians need the fellowship of other believers and the ministry of the Word to keep them spiritually “hot”! He was back at church the following Sunday. Apart from Sunday worship, our weekly/bi-weekly Life Group ministry at Hills Bible Church serves to keep us spiritually hot and effective for the kingdom of God.

It is important for us to realise that the Church is not a meeting you attend or a place you enter, but an identity that is ours in Christ. It is an identity that shapes the whole of life as individuals are united together under the gospel in community with each other. The Scriptures tell us that when we are eternally saved, we are joined to the body of Christ universally and are to obediently unite ourselves to a body of Christ locally (1 Cor 12:12-27). And it is in this local body of believers where all the “one anothers” in Scripture play out, such as love (John 13:34), devotion (Rom 12:10), care (1 Cor 12:26), service (Gal 5:13) etc. Life Groups provide this place for “one anothering” to occur.

You might say that attending church on a Sunday morning and listening to the preaching is enough. Here are five reasons why the one-another ministry of Life Groups (LGs) is a necessary partner with preaching (these have been adapted from an article I read many years ago):

  1. LGs counter the tendency toward passivity in listening as we “stir up one another to love and good works” (Heb. 10:24). It is easy to listen to a message and remain unchanged. But through the community experienced in LGs, encouragement and support become necessary partners to receiving the Word.
  2. LGs counter the impulse to disappear into the Sunday morning crowd rather than come out and be known. Yes, to be known means vulnerability and effort that can be tiring and challenging. However, the Lord believes that such effort is necessary in our growth as Christians.
  3. Those who only attend church can evade redemptive crises. In other words, LGs allow others to be made aware of issues in your life so as to help you in trouble, rather than leaving you alone and spiritually, emotionally and mentally vulnerable. Relational investment now reaps dividends in the face of challenges.
  4. The natural format of a Sunday morning does not allow for questions to be asked and biblically answered, but LGs do. There is much wisdom through the LG leader and other members and this helps us grow together as “iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Prov 27:17).
  5. LGs provide prayer support for a specific need or conviction or personal resolution. When it says, “not neglecting to meet together” (Heb. 10:25), the writer had in mind more than Sunday morning.  He meant sharing life with one another.

Why join a Life Group? Because we are united together in Christ who need each other, and preaching is deficient in providing this. God has called us to love each other and be agents of growth in Christ. We currently have 13 Life Groups, with 177 adults attending, and leaders in training ready to start groups. Join a Life Group today by speaking to Matt Hunt (contact here)

If you are already in a Life Group, then be fully involved. Make the commitment to turn up each week without fail because God’s people matter. Be ready to speak and share in love. Be prepared. Answer the questions. Share what you find while being always ready to listen to others and encourage other people’s involvement. Finally, have the attitude of the Apostle Paul who said to the Thessalonians,

We were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us” (1 Thess 2:8)

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