Why Being Part Of A Life Group/Small Group Is Important For Christians

Why Being Part Of A Life Group/Small Group Is Important For Christians

Jesus not only calls us to go out and make disciples, He calls us to gather together as believers to refuel.

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I've grown up in a Christian home.

Since birth, my parents and family have taught me about the never-ending love of God and instilled the Bible's teachings and values in my life.

Around the time I started high school, my faith really became my own. I was getting ready to be able to drive myself to church on my own, I changed churches because of where I felt God calling me to go, and I attended church because I wanted to, not because it was where my parents went every Sunday.

I'll admit, when your faith becomes your own, it opens you up to an even bigger spiritual warfare because you're essentially declaring your relationship with the Lord is your own and not a byproduct of how you grew up. It's basically raising a spiritual hand to Satan and telling him, "Talk to the hand."

And that can be dangerous. But it's always worth it.

It feels good to take your life and your faith into your own hands. In my case, I reached an age where I truly understood what God had done for me earlier than the age where I could drive or stay out past a certain time. In my mind, making my faith my own was really my first step into "adulthood," or at least what we think that looks like now.

So, what's the next step after making your faith your own?

Well, that's a bit of a tricky question because different people will give you different answers depending on their opinion. Some will say a good church, some will say changing your Facebook profile to say "Christian," and others will say something else.

While I think there are a lot of wonderful, biblically-truthful answers to this question, most believers would give you a list of things that you'd look to when thinking about next steps. Don't worry, it's not daunting at all.

The first step would obviously be to purchase a Bible if you don't already have one. While church is certainly important, the Bible is God's own word and the closest thing we have to His physical presence. It's basically a love letter to those who believe in Him, so why not start with the best part of all?!

The second would be to research churches if you don't already attend one. Find someplace that definitely preaches the Bible as God intended it to be preached. Also, find somewhere that you enjoy going! Just because it's new to you doesn't mean it can't be fun. God actually intended going to church and your relationship with Him to be something you love, I promise.

And the third step is my personal favorite.

Consider joining a life group! This can also be called a small group or bible study. Essentially it's a smaller group of people within your church who gather together at least one day a week to study the Bible in a more intimate setting.

I know intimate settings can sound intimidating, especially if you've never been part of a bible study before and even more so if you're a new Christian. However, let me ease some of that nervousness.

The majority of these people will also go to the church the small group is affiliated with. That gives you a chance to meet people at your church and engage in fellowship with them throughout the week as opposed to just on Sundays.

Also, they are there to do exactly what you're doing - learn more about God and His word for us. There should be no judgment there, and if there is, know that's not how God means it to be and seek out another bible study. I can guarantee not all of them will be the exact same.

Thirdly, God's Word calls us to be in fellowship with one another because it makes our walk with God stronger and it's also easier when we have other believers in our corner.

Hebrews 10:24-25 says, "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together,". We are not called to stir one another up in anger or anxiety or anything that would harm another believer, but to stir hearts to show love and live in such a way that God's love saturates everything we do, say, and even think. This verse is a lot like 1 Thessalonians 5:11, which says, "Therefore, encourage one another and build up one another,".

We are called, as Christians, to be a light to a pretty dark world. But we are also called to be a light to each other and to commune with one another so that we can be refueled in the midst of how much we are called to pour out.

Lastly, I recommend being a part of a smaller group of believers studying the Bible because it enables you to glimpse even more of God throughout your week and to commune with God himself.

Matthew 18:20 says, "For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I will be among them." I don't know about y'all, but this verse particularly brings peace to my heart. There are times when, as a believer, you'll question whether God is really there or not, and this verse is an unshakeable promise and fact that He is indeed there through it all.

I joined a life group at my home church when I was in high school because I wanted to know more about God's Word and gather with my friends at the church as God tells us to. I was a young teen who sought to fit in, while never wanting to give up my faith in order to do that. Eventually, my love for God won out over the desire to fit in and I am so glad for that because being a part of a bible study helped in that!

I am also a part of one campus ministry at my college. It's so important, as a young believer, to stay connected to your relationship with God at college because that's such a time of change and new experiences. Being a part of a Christian ministry there has helped me stay grounded and stick to my roots. The small group I attend there continues to help me stay connected to my faith and has also introduced me to some amazing friends.

If you're not a Christian, I invite you to explore your place in the heart of a God who does not discriminate, forgives all, remains present, and wants so badly to have a conversation with you.

If you're a believer, I am so happy to share this relationship with you and our Savior. It's a difficult road, as the Bible tells us, but one that's worth being traveled down and is such a blessing in the end. Whether you have all three (Bible, church, and life group) or only one of those listed above, I encourage you to dwell in Christ and dig as deep as you can into this wonderful love we get to witness and receive from God.

If you're in between and don't really know what you are, I encourage you to keep searching for truth, love, and righteousness. I encourage you to accept God's love for you while I also understand that it's a serious decision to make and that Satan can make it a very hard thing to give your heart and worries over to God.

Regardless of where you stand, you deserve to know that you have so many believers who love you and who root for you, including me!


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When God Says, “Not Right Now.”

“God give me faith to wait and not manipulate. To trust You fully, no matter how my circumstances may appear." — Lynn Cowell

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One of the most frustrating yet beautiful things is when God tells us “no" or “not right now."

At the time, you may have agony or desperation for this one thing to work out in your life, but it slips away from you. You may ask God why. Why does He want you to be unhappy? Why does He want to take away your dreams?

At the time, you cannot see how much God truly is working in your life, but He is. In my life, every time that I was disappointed that a plan or dream didn't work out, I was devastated. I didn't want to be in a position where I was challenged and tested. I wanted all the blessings to flow and to fulfill what I thought was my plan in life. But that's exactly what it was: my plan.

I did not see at the time that that is not what God intended for me and that He actually had far greater plans than I did for myself. He needed to mold me into who I am supposed to be today. Along the way I have met the most amazing people that have had a huge impact on my life, have gone through the most amazing experiences with God, and I wouldn't trade going through all the trials because it has truly made me into the woman I am today.

“What God does in us while we wait is as important as what we are waiting for." – John Ortberg

God is continually, endlessly, working in our lives.

We may not see it, but He is. We may blame God for all the things that are going wrong in our lives, but we never see that in the end, we were supposed to go through the low valleys to get to the high, amazing, and beautiful mountains in our lives.

I truly believe that it's when you're at the bottom of the darkest pit in your life that you can actually see the light of God shining brightly upon you. During these times, pray to Him to lead you to understanding that this is all a part of His plan for you.

It hurts God to see that His child is suffering, but in order to carve out just the person that you are supposed to be, you must go through challenges. Where you are today is no accident. God is using the challenge you are in to shape you and prepare you for the place He wants you tomorrow. When it comes to God's plan, timing is absolutely everything.

Looking back on all the events that I had to endure before getting to where I am now, I know that I had to go through the trials in order to be just who I am today, which is happier than I have ever been because I know God and His plan for me. Waiting is the most difficult job of hope, but you must remain faithful and know that God is guiding you.

“When I wait, you strengthen my heart." Psalm 27:14

When you are waiting for God's righteous plan, don't lose faith in His goodness. He only wants the best for you, and in the end, you will look back and see just how much He truly was working in your life. Be patient and the blessings will flow.

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Christianity Is About Love And Forgiveness, I'm Sorry If You've Met Christians Who Act Differently

Christianity is rooted in love, but unfortunately not all "Christians" live that way.

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If you've ever been hurt by a "Christian", I'm sorry. If you've ever felt condemned, I'm sorry. If you've ever felt looked down upon, I'm sorry.

That's not Christianity, and we're not all that way. Christians are called to follow Christ, and Jesus Christ loved people. All people. Granted, we are only flesh and our flesh is not perfect, a true follower of Christ would never intentionally hurt another human being. I know that there are people who claim the same faith that I do that that are leaving scars behind in the wake of their actions and words and it deeply saddens me.

As Christians, we are called to love - no matter what color, race, gender, or sexual orientation - we are called to love people as Christ loves us. Unfortunately, in the media, we see stories of people being condemned by "Christians" for their beliefs or lifestyle choices. We are not called to condemn; it is not our place. In fact, John 3:17 explains that God sent His son Jesus into the world not to condemn the world, but to save it through Him. If Jesus wasn't sent here to condemn the world, it is not our job as followers of Christ to do so either. Being a Christian makes us no better than anyone else on this earth. We are just as broken as the next person, the only difference is we've accepted a savior.

I saw a meme on facebook essentially talking about how some of the rudest customers that come into restaurants are the ones who come in on Sunday after church. I began to read the comments because I was genuinely curious about how others felt about this topic and my heart began to break.

Words like "fake" and "stuck up" were thrown around and I'm afraid they're not wrong. There are people who go to church on Sunday and walk out of those four walls only to leave their intentions of living like Christ inside. That's not how it's supposed to be, and unfortunately, those are the people who leave a bitter taste in people's mouths in regards to the church. I'm here to say, on behalf of those of us truly trying to follow Christ, that we're not all that way, and we love you just as you are.

To those who have a misconstrued image of Christianity because of a "Christian" who treated you wrong, I would like to apologize on their behalf. I simply want you to know that you are loved deeply, not only by us but by the creator of the world.

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