James came back from a conference and the thing that stuck out that he told me was, "People grow better in circles than in rows." Now, I have been to many "rows" in my life and have grown. However, the concepts and dialog with one another has been a refreshment to my soul.
Seeing people regularly means that I cannot just put on a nice outfit and smile like on Sundays. People (at least my group), see me without makeup, feisty not-submitting and sassy. Not that I hide, but it is easy to smile and wave on Sundays. But, when your in your home, life is there. The messy bedroom life. The hurting life. The rejoicing life. The praying life. We experience one another from a variety of backgrounds, from different ages, however, our one connection (the rope that ties us together) is Jesus.
Our group meets on Fridays. The meal that we share gives us time to unwind from the week and share LIFE together. Tonight, I laughed so hard, I cried. Why? Well, somethings just need to stay in Life group. Last week, we celebrated Joe and his quarter of a century life! Max was so excited to make the cake (even if it was a boxed cake-which he informed Joe). Why? Because we love each other.
No, we don't broadcast all the pains of life, but I can trust that these people care for my needs and often pray for their spiritual growth. I hurt when they hurt, I rejoice when they rejoice. When one gets a job (or 5) I am thrilled. God created us to be in community.
I recently read the Lord's Prayer. In circling the pronouns I realized that there is no... I ME OR MINE. It is in community when Jesus taught us to pray. Confessed sin, daily needs, and acknowledgment uses the pronouns OUR or US. Also in Ephesian Chapter 4 the goal of spiritual growth is when we all reach maturity. I desire that we all grow, not just me.
My large church (Lazy Mountain Bible Church) is amazing. However, Life happens in small group.