At my church (Gateway Church), we call our small groups "life groups" or "Gateway Groups." Small groups - as it were - seem to be a fad that has overtaken the modern church-going experience, to the chagrin of some. But, have you ever read books in the Bible like Acts, Romans, 1 and 2 Corninthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians...and the list goes on? The Church - or body of those who follow Jesus - have met together in small groups in people's homes since the beginning of Christianity. It's not a new concept, for sure, but it is a vital one.
Jesus' profound summation of the Law and the Prophets (all the Scripture back in Jesus' day) was to 1) Love God, and 2) Love others. It's not enough to just love God. Jesus said it! If you want to experience life the way God intended, then you must risk opening yourself up to others and reaching out to love them. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised to find that you will be embraced and loved as well.
"But I have tried a small group before at church and I felt left out." Or, "I don't know anyone in the group." Or, "What if nobody talks to me?" Or, "What if I wear the wrong thing?"
Let me give you as many reasons as I can think of why YOU should get over yourself and find a group:
1. Sometimes, your attendance at a group is not really about you.
2. Sometimes, stepping out is an act of faith and obedience to God.
3. You might make some new friends.
4. You might hear God speak to you.
5. You might learn something new.
6. You might eat yummy food.
7. You might have fun.
8. You might win a prize!
9. You might make someone's day.
10. You might find a place to serve that you never imagined would have fit you so well.
11. You could leave your nursing bra hooked up for an extended period of time.
12. Other adults will be present for some adult conversation.
13. If you take your child(ren) to Gateway's children's classes, they will have fun and will be overwhelmingly blessed.
14. If you take your child(ren) to the children's classes, no one will be crying at you or calling you Mommy for at least 2 hours.
15. Your heart needs connection with other women.
16. You need to laugh.
17. You need to worship God with people who want to worship Him.
18. You need the fresh wind of the Holy Spirit to blow over you and revive you.
19. Being part of a small group brings you an instant family of people who will support you.
20. Being part of a small group changes your whole "church" experience by allowing you to be connected instead of floating aimlessly.
21. You could swap recipes.
22. You could swap kids' clothes.
23. You could swap kids - um...er, nevermind.
24. You can be mentored by others who have gone before you on the wife/mom journey.
25. You could be the touch of Jesus' hand on someone's shoulder who so desperately needs it.
26. You could be the one who says the very words of encouragement that someone else's life may be depending upon.
27. You could be the one to call out gifts and abilities in a woman who has never known she was good at anything.
28. You could be the one to help break the chains in a woman's life.
29. You could make a difference.
30. You could be blessed.
31. Your heart could be healed.
32. Your body could be healed.
33. Your emotions could be healed.
34. You could get in on seeing others healed by God's power.
35. You can learn how to pray.
36. You can help others learn how to pray.
37. You can show off your cooking/baking skills when it's your turn to bring a snack.
38. You can wear your PJ's if you really want to. (at least in my group, you could...)
39. You can be part of a group project to help those in need - food drive, adopt a family or single mom, serve at a shelter, etc.
40. You could be the very organizer that your group needs to keep things on track!
41. You can be yourself.
42. God can change your heart.
43. God can change your marriage.
44. God can change your family.
45. You will start experiencing LIFE!
Well, I guess you wouldn't exactly call that a "plethora" - at least not up to Jefe's and El Guapo's standard of the word. But, I think that about covers it. (Read the following with an Eeyore voice) If you want to stay the same and hide in your house...and not make any new friends or hear anything new from the Holy Spirit...or eat any sopapilla cheesecake or oreo truffles...then, you probably don't have to try out a group.
Let me just say, back in the day when I deeply detested gatherings of women and I had hardened my heart to a lot of things, it was only in a women's group where the Lord got hold of me. He softened me and massaged the hardness right out of my heart and I had a complete change of heart AND mind. Today, instead of abhorring women and women's groups, I am on track to impact this generation with God's timely message of love and hope SPECIFICALLY to women. Don't tell God what He can't do. His plan for you is bigger than you and it is so exciting! So, get ovuh yoseff and GET IN A GROUP!!!