Simply put, one of the key points of having Grow Together groups is to “grow together” in Jesus Christ. That means growing in our understanding of what the Bible tells us about God, faith, and the gospel of Jesus Christ (the story of his birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension – and eventual return); and how that all applies to how we live out our lives on a day-to-day basis in a world that needs our example as light in the darkness. That’s a long-winded way of describing “becoming devoted followers of Jesus Christ” – our mission.
It should be every group’s goal to approach that growth through learning/studying using various methods, such as books, small group specific materials like DVDs series, or even just straight-up Bible study (perhaps following the current sermon series). Learning is one way in which we grow in our faith, encounter transformation, and become devoted followers.
But faith (and life in Christ) is more than just a cognitive process – faith is always relational.
Our need for relationships is echoed throughout Scripture. We see it first and foremost in the Trinity – three persons in one God. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. It is in this image that God made us, saying, “Let us make mankind in our image, our likeness” (Gen 1:26). We’re designed for relationship. God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen 2:18) [emphasis added – both times]. Likewise, one of the first things Jesus did when he began His earthly ministry was to gather disciples around Himself (a larger group from which He later selected the 12 Apostles; Luke 6:13). When Jesus sent out 72 disciples to go before Him, He “sent them out two by two” (Luke 10:1). Relationships are God’s plan for everyone.
So, as group leaders, one of our goals should be to try foster an environment that helps build relationships within your Grow (or Serve) Together group community. An important aspect of group meetings is always learning about Jesus Christ and how we our lives can reflect His perfect love in the world and our own community. But it’s not just all about learning (though that is very important).
Small group meetings should be structured so that they have both a learning component and a social (relational) component (whether before or after the learning time or both). Use this relaxed time for people to catch up about doing life together. This will help provide an environment that helps build Christian relationships that leads to transformation; that is, becoming devoted followers (disciples) of Jesus Christ.
Remember, we were never meant to do any of this alone.
Group Life Deacon