God designed people for relationships. Small groups have the potential of providing a safe environment for people to really connect with others and to encourage one another in their relationship with God. Jesus found small groups extremely helpful in His ministry among people working with a group of 3 and 12 most of the time.
Here are some insights on small groups:
The Associated Baptist Press reported on a new Baylor University study that evaluates the impact of small group ministry on the overall health and success of a church. Not surprisingly, the study found small group ministry to be valuable for connecting members to the church and to one another, but researchers warned that having a small group ministry in itself does not guarantee church success. Kevin Dougherty, sociology professor and lead researcher on the project, said in order to have lasting value to a church, small groups must meet with regularity, promote a sense of trust and open discussion, and provide support during the difficult moments in members' lives.
Small groups are amazing opportunities for people to stretch, learn, grow, express, laugh, cry, and try. The Apostle Paul gave some directions for interaction that is helpful for us as well:
So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you'll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you're already doing this; just keep on doing it. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 TMSG
At GBC there are a number of small groups meeting at different times and in different places. They provide a safe place for people to discover or rediscover the things of God. They have a setting for looking into their own lives with others who are supportive and desire God’s best for them. It is a place for learning to love God more and to practice getting better at loving others. The small groups help people go beyond superficiality.
On Sunday morning there are small groups meeting before the church service. These groups include a study time as well as a time of encouragement and prayer we refer to as Paraklesis. Paraklesis is a Greek term having to do with coming alongside another to help, comfort, guide, teach, encourage, and build up. The Holy Spirit is called the Paraklete. Jesus said that after He left He would send another One like Him, and the term He used was Paraklete which is variously translated as helper, comforter or counselor. This special time allows a group of about 4 people to share their spiritual journey and their life’s challenges and blessings with one another. Each one is blessed and each one prayed for as they come alongside one another.
For information on current groups call the church at 918-825-5147