Small Group Effectiveness (and my own life experiences)

So, if all groups are not created equal in their effectiveness how am I doing with that in my own life?  The very first group I was a part of started in 1999 (“Last century,” as my husband George would say).  A group of ladies from my neighborhood asked if I wanted to meet once a week and do a bible study.  Honestly, as a mother of four, I had always said, “ No thanks, I don’t have the time.”   But God had really been tugging on my heart that I needed to finally learn how to MAKE TIME, carve out time, to study His Word in my bible with other ladies.  Yes, this started out as an informational group, but over time as we began to open up and trust one another we started to really hold each other accountable in a good way. Many changes took place, including our neighborhood  flooding, and most of the original group moved away.  We prayed to see who else God would bring to our hearts to invite.  The ladies God placed into the group really want to live out in faith what we were studying.  I think that is when we became more of a transformational group.  There have always been about 8-11 ladies in this group.  We have lived through so much together and they have been a wonderful example in my life of what it means to care for one another in love and truth.  We have wrestled with many things in our lives and in the lives of our families and marriages, asking in prayer for God’s will, His truth, love and guidance.

That being said, this is the first group that helped me experience what John Wesley found to be the most helpful way to live a transformed/new life in Christ.  Wesley thought it was important that people were feeding on sound doctrine through the church, in worship, and in reading the bible.  In addition, Wesley knew it was VITAL for EVERY person to help one another in smaller groups to LIVE OUT the truth of the Gospel.  Wesley believed we should use our real life experiences as the center point of discussion in smaller groups.  Each person could have time to share “How is it with my soul,” and ask the Holy Spirit to guide and/or change their hearts, minds and lives.   This leads to real transformation and new life in Christ.

Gracious Father,   We ask that You nudge our hearts so we will want to gather in small groups to talk about how we are experiencing God’s transforming presence in our real everyday circumstances and how it is changing our lives.  In Jesus’ Name We Pray, Amen

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