by Julie Jaunese
Grace Family Church might seem large, but did you know that it started 18 years ago with about 40 people meeting in a home on Thursday evenings? My husband and I were part of that first group. We met that way for nearly four months before opening in a shopping center with about 135 people attending on the first Sunday.
Let’s talk about a time even further ago in history. In the book of Acts, the church helped each other as they fellowshipped together. As they did, they added to their numbers daily. My husband and I had our first exposure to a small group in the mid 70s. We went to a church that assigned you to a “cell group” with three other couples. Yes, assigned us to the group. This group was pivotal in our growing relationship with God and encouraged us in reading God’s word. It challenged us; held us accountable. We had prayer requests every week but also had praise reports. We saw God in motion, working in each couple. They didn’t provide child-care, we got a sitter and were there.
Today, Grace Family Church makes it so easy for us to be in small groups. There are great bible study groups, special interest groups like photography, young people groups, seasoned people groups, couple’s groups, men’s groups, women’s groups, Second Saturday and more. Pastor Craig has said that attending on the weekend is not enough to get you connected in relationships that will help you grow. That’s something to think about…. Do you give your marriage an hour a week? Do you give your job only an hour a week? How about your children, do you give them only an hour a week? Profound when you think about it, isn’t it? The consequence of giving these relationships only an hour a week would be devastating and God wants so much more for us.
Join a small group and you will experience the type of community Paul talks about in the book of Acts. Acts 2:46-47 says, “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Their homes weren’t meant to hold 5,000. They were designed to hold a small group, just like the small groups at Grace Family Church.
The church of Acts spells out our heritage from God. The church in Acts was a church that depended on each other. We depend on each other. “I need you, you need me, we are a part God’s body…,” are lyrics of a song we sing at Grace. The song goes on to say, “It is his will that every need be supplied. You are important to me, I need you to survive.” I need you just as much as you need me to survive in our walk with God and walking out His word.
So I challenge you to get out of your “one-hour-a-week” routine and find a small group. The fellowship and encouragement I’ve received through small groups has changed my life, and they will change yours too.
Beautiful, the women’s ministry of Grace Family Church, will begin a new semester of small group studies on Monday, Jan. 30. Join us that evening at 7 pm to learn more about women’s small groups and find the right group for you.