If you swung by our homepage on your way here, you’ll know that we are starting 2016 with TRANSFORMED: a seven week study put together by Rick Warren in order to help people experience God’s transforming power in every area of their lives.
I’m excited about this new study, but if you’re serious about being transformed, you can’t rely on Rick Warren. As great as he is, he won’t change your life. Neither will his books. You know what book does have the power to change your life? The Bible. As our third core value states: knowing and obeying God’s Word is fundamental to all true success.
No, reading your Bible does not guarantee you an easy life, or even a successful one as the world measures success. But our lives in this world are just a drop in the ocean of eternity. We’re like delicate little flowers, in full bloom one moment and wilted away the next. So it makes more sense to measure our success based on where we’ll spend eternity rather than what our lives look like right now. And salvation, ultimately can only come through hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17)
Unfortunately, the Bible can be hard to understand sometimes. That’s why guys like Rick Warren are so popular. He has a gift for breaking down spiritual concepts and helping people understand them and apply them to their lives. But that sounds like work, and lazy tends to be our default mode. So what we need is someone (or someones) to rally around us and hold us accountable for our transformation. Enter small groups.
Benefits of Small Groups
If you’re already part of a church family, you might not see the need for a small group. But trust me, there are all kinds of benefits to small groups. Here are three big ones:
1. Everyone Talks In a small group, you’ll get to hear from people who usually never say a word. This gives them a chance to express their thoughts and feelings and also teaches the louder personalities how to shut up and let someone else talk. And when you bounce ideas off of each other like this, the whole group learns.
2. Tight Relationships Small churches often pride themselves on having a tight, family feeling about their congregation. But you cannot really bond with fifty people. Different studies cite different numbers, but in general, we form the tightest relationships with 8-15 people. These are the people we will be the most comfortable sharing our failures with, and they’ll also be the most excited about our triumphs.
3. Accountability There is no hiding in a small group. People will know if you haven’t done the reading. They’ll notice if you don’t have anything to say on a particular topic. It’s impossible to miss who’s there and who isn’t. We can justify pretty much anything to ourselves. It’s harder to get away with it when there are people who know the details of your life and aren’t afraid to call you out when you need it.
It’s the Perfect Time to Join!
At Slippery Rock Alliance, our small groups are open to new members any time. Most churches have similar policies. But right now is an especially ideal time to join one of our small groups, because of the aforementioned TRANSFORMED study. We have new groups forming this week to go through the study together. Here are their meeting times:
Sunday at 9:30am Elder Kirby Burns will be leading this group in the church fellowship hall. Family Ministries Director Michele Gebhart will be providing childcare during this time.
Sunday at 6:00pm Pastor Barth is inviting a small group into his home for our Sunday evening study. Contact us if you need directions.
Wednesday at 6:30pm Elder Bob Gebhart will be leading this group, also in the church fellowship hall. We’ll be serving a light dinner at 6 to make it easier to get here after work.
Thursday at 7:00pm Our young adult group will also be participating in the TRANSFORMED study. They meet at Bryan Montgomery’s home in Grove City. Once again, you can contact us for directions.
At the end of the week, I’ll post a few tips on getting the most out of your small group. If you have any questions on our small groups or any other major benefits of joining one that I skipped, leave them in the comments.