Small groups have always been a vital part of Church throughout history. They are the place for believers to share their up's and downs together, to pray together, to read God's Word together and to experience the love and support of fellowship.
We will be playing catch-up at United, for we have tried to get small groups off the ground before with little success. We’re now at a turning point, where I believe one major shift must take place for the church to not only survive but thrive in what will be the “new normal.” Gone, at least for the near future, will be congregational worship gatherings on a Sunday morning, at one location. The time has come to consider carefully what this means for us as a church moving forwards. Far from being an optional add-on, I feel in the months ahead that small groups will be the mainstay of our discipleship and fellowship. It’s fascinating to see how the church is being brought back to what she was designed to be through this process.
So now is the time to take advantage of meeting up! The Government has said that up to six people can now meet outdoors, with social distancing, and I strongly encourage you to make the most of it! Meet up with your brothers and sisters in Christ regularly. I cannot urge you enough to be sensible, and take the necessary precautions, wear a mask if that helps with your confidence, make sure you sit well apart, and wash hands after meeting, but invite some friends from church to sit in your garden, or arrange to meet in the local green spaces. Share how you are feeling, and pray together. When you are a bit more confident, look at the Bible together – remember this is not a chance to show how much or how little you know about God’s Word but an opportunity to share in God’s goodness and bless each other.
If you are still shielding, and feel you don’t want to leave home just yet, you can meet virtually – through platforms such as Zoom or Facetime or Skype.
If any of you do start meeting, please let me know so I can keep a record of the groups that are being formed. Later down the road, we will look into equipping you with study material and prayer aids but for now, just reclaim those friendships and enjoy being with people that you have missed. Let Jesus be part of your together times.
Small groups are the history—and the future—of the church. They will be key to keeping United Church healthy, if we embrace the opportunity and let the breath of His Spirit blow through us.