Friday, September 23, 2011

Better Together

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Acts 2:42
Everything you desire from church happens better in groups!  To quote my friend, Kirk, who works in the inner city of San Francisco with Young Life, "I'm gonna keep it 100 with you."  (I'm not sure I know exactly what that means but it sounds so cool when he uses the line in conversation!)  As I ponder why gathering interpersonally in a group around the Word and prayer is such a priority to me, I think of the following:
  • I understand the Bible better in a group:  Here is a little-known secret.  While I am most often associated with the sermons at PCC, by the time it hits the pulpit on Sunday, it has passed through two different small groups!  People's insights give the Word so much texture for me and provides a glimpse I may not have considered.
  • I experience God's family more vividly in a group:  Most people who have been a part of a group say the greatest benefit is the close relationships and friendships that develop.  In a group, I discover that my needs and problems are not unique.  Over 50 times in the New Testament the phrase "one another" is used to describe our relationship to other believers. The only way I can obey these commands is in a small group!  We really do need each other. God never meant for me to go it alone in the Christian life.
  • I am sharpened in a group:  There is a sharpening effect that is exponentially increased between believers in a group.  In community I see lives lived up close and on a weekly basis I leave desirous of growing in character because of who I have been hanging out with.
  • I am able to handle stress and pressure better in a group:  Small groups provide excellent support in times of crisis, change and stress.  I have a sense of stability and security knowing there are people who really care for me and are committed to standing with me through hard times.
  • I become more aware of my gifting because of a group:  The Bible teaches that every believer is given certain talents or "gifts" to benefit others in the family of God.  Unfortunately most Christians remain as Sunday morning spectators all their lives because large group meetings are primarily "sit and listen" situations.  As I share and participate in a relaxed small group setting, I've better discovered how God has wired me and the greater story He designed me to live into.  I do mission better because of my small group involvement.
  • I am functioning biblically while committed to a group:  The book of Acts is very clear about how God intends for His people to grow and have their needs met in the church.  We will never be able to hire enough professional pastors to meet all the individual needs at PCC.  God never intended for it to be that way!
So here's the keeping it 100 part: This fall won't be maximized at PCC without you being in a group.  Once again on Sunday you will discover how easy it is to get plugged in.  They all start the first week of October so it's not too late.

This Sunday I will deliver the prequel to The Way series.  We will be in John 6:60-69. Read up, come early, park far, far away (We turned 40 cars away from the parking lot last week!) or better yet, take the shuttle from the Rite Aid parking lot, and come looking to serve.

I love being your pastor!