This Christmas we’re talking about community. We know Jesus wants us to love one another, and we also know Jesus is our power and pattern for loving. “A new command I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34). For the next two weeks we’ll be answering the question, “How do I see Jesus loving me in the story of his birth?” This Sunday I’ll talk about serving one another (Gal. 5:13) and next Sunday Jeff will talk about being humble toward one another (1 Pet. 5:5).
This series also provides me an opportunity to encourage you to be involved in a small group. Let me start by getting a few things on the table. Small groups are not synonymous with community. Our prayer is that community will happen at small groups, but living in community with other Christians is much larger than an hour and a half meeting! True Christian community happens when we daily live out the patter of Jesus’ love with other Christians we encounter: in your house, at your work, in your neighborhood, at the grocery store, and at church gatherings. What role then do small groups play in community at our church?
One thing small groups do is provide us with a training ground of sorts for community. Our culture pushes us toward individualism and a small group can push us back toward community. If a small group were patterned after our individualistic culture it would probably look something like the video below.
Sin will alway push us toward isolation. Even Christians can be pushed into isolation, settling for shallow relationships with the brothers and sisters God has given us for mutual upbuilding and sanctification. The simple reality is that true, deep community can feel so unnatural to us that we’ll run from it. One goal for our small groups is that they give us a taste of the community that God want’s us to have every day. And hopefully we’ll take that hour and a half taste and spread it throughout our daily life. So if you’re feeling God encouraging you to ‘love one another’, come to a small group this week. It might be the opportunity God uses to pull you further out of isolation and into the reconciled community of his kingdom.