Small Groups - Making a Big Church Smaller

At St. Mary’s our goal is to support you in finding a small group where you can be known and know others, where you can listen for God’s movement in your life through your connection to other people.

I have been speaking to people who have had life-giving experiences in small groups at church. I asked them why they liked being in a small group and why they would encourage others to do the same.

One man and his wife were in a small group at their former church that met for nearly five years. Recently they ran into a man from the group in Costco. They were amazed at how deeply they were connected, even though they had not seen one another for many years. All the closeness they had shared in Christ came right back. All the joys and sorrows they had shared were immediately available, as though it had been only yesterday. They marveled at the power of their connection and experience, and long for such a group here.

One woman spoke of her experience of connection, community, and caring in a small group, which created a safe place to risk being known and knowing others. She believes this kind of deep knowing is for the glory of God, that we are more powerful in community to bring about heaven on earth.

Another man described the life-giving experience of a small group, hearing amazing stories, and the increasing willingness of members to participate in whatever way would provide emotional and spiritual support in building community.

A small group can make a “big church small,” as one man put it. We love gathering for Sunday services to worship; that is where we experience the “bigness” of church and the gift of our larger community. A small group can be a place where you are able to get closer to others, so that worship in the big group becomes even more meaningful.

Jesus had small groups, his closest friends, and the larger small group of his disciples, and because of those relationships, his ministry in the world was more effective. If Jesus behaved in this manner, we can be confident that this is God’s way. As Jesus said, “I pray that they may be one in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me that they may be one, as we are one.” (John 17:21-22)

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