Summary: Part 1 of 4 - Teaching series on Small Groups at NewSong
Part 1 – Looking for Common Ground
NewSong Church – 09/14/08
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The Need to Connect
This morning we are beginning our new teaching series “Connected.” This series will be focusing on our small group environments and over the next few weeks we’re going to be looking at various aspects of small groups as we prepare to re-launch our groups in a few weeks.
• Loneliness is a growing problem in our society.
• A study by the American Council of Life Insurance reported that the loneliest groups in America are college students.
• Next on the list are divorced people, welfare recipients, single mothers, rural students, housewives, and the elderly.
• Americans are amongst the loneliest people in the world.
Rubik’s Cube Community
The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part!
• Many of us live our lives out of alignment
• We are connected, but we are not in the right place
• We are jumbled and mixed up, and we need some way to find our place of belonging, to figure out where we fit.
When we are connected and in the right place, together we become complete.
Why Small Groups?
Small groups help us develop connections and build relationships so that we can find strength and support to endure the struggles and difficulties of life and faith. They help us find answers to our questions. They help us to see life from a different perspective. They allow us to share life the way God intended.
In small groups, we look for common ground in:
What Does the Bible Say?
:: Since the start of the church, Christians have gathered in large groups and in small groups for discipleship, fellowship, worship, evangelism, and ministry
They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity - all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
:: God created us to be in relationships – with Him and with each other
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”
:: We need people because life is tough
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
:: Jesus’ presence is stronger when two or three are gathered in His name
“For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”
:: Fellowship with other believers is part of God’s plan for discipleship
Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all. All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
A Church of Small Groups
• This is not a campaign for small groups – this is part of our identity.
• We are in the process of becoming a church of small groups