Dear Church Family and Friends,
For some of us, the answer is self-explanatory; we would never ask why a group of Christians would meet in order to help one another grow as disciples of Christ. For others, this sounds like just another church service, and, after all, do we really need another church service? I’ll leave the question for later, but I must emphasize that SGs are not church services, at least not like any church service you’re used to. Most church services involve one person (preacher, teacher, etc.) helping the rest of us grow as Christians, but SGs involve every member of the group helping every other member of the group. OK, so, it’s not a church service, but you might still wonder, “I’ve been doing just fine without SGs all these years, why would I need to be involved with this now?”
Well, I would question whether you’ve actually been doing “just fine” for the same reasons that I believe we need what good SGs offer, and the main reason is that the Bible says so. Simplistic? Perhaps. Ignored by countless “Bible-believing” churches? Definitely. While American culture encourages individual rights, recognition, etc., the Bible repeatedly emphasizes our identity within a community. (True, our salvation occurs on a personal level, but even then we are part of the church for whom Christ died.)
Here’s what the Bible says in Ephesians 4: We are to celebrate our unity in Christ, and then we are to grow together. Without this growth, we are like children, who are easily misled. But Jesus has given gifts to his people, teachers who can impart God’s truth to us. Then, in love, every one of us takes the truth he or she has learned and speaks it into the lives our fellow Christians so that together we can grow to maturity and better represent Christ to the world.
Christians who claim they do not need this kind of ministry in their lives – both speaking and receiving loving words of truth in community with other Christians – are, by definition, naïve and immature. They likely have been deceived by their own hearts, which even they cannot understand (Jer. 17.9), and they are in danger of hardening their hearts in unbelief. (Heb. 3.12-13) Sadly, when that happens, they might be the last to know.
Why SGs? Because God thinks that healthy Christians need this kind of intentional, relational, inter-personal ministry, and SGs are a great place to experience this part of his plan for us!
For His glory and your joy,