At CBC, our small groups exist for the purpose,“[That] we all attain to to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the fullness of Christ…” (Eph. 4:13). Since we believe it is God’s desire that His people be conformed more to the image of Christ, and since we believe that that growth happens within a local church, and within the local church, we believe that small groups can be a means to help people grow. Here are three ways we believe small groups help us obey Ephesians 4:13.
Fellowship is one of the primary objectives of our small groups. Fellowship is the friendly association you have with those with whom you have something in common. We want to facilitate opportunities for members of our body to come together regularly to spend time together, to cultivate relationships, to get to know each other. This happens better in a smaller setting than a Sunday morning gathering.
“We should not think of our fellowship with other Christians as a spiritual luxury, an optional addition to the exercises of private devotions. Fellowship is one of the great words of the New Testament: it denotes something that is vital to a Christian’s spiritual health, and central to the Church’s true life…The church will flourish and Christians will be strong only when there is fellowship.” — J.I. Packer
Fellowship with other believers is a mark of a Christian and an essential element of the local church (Acts. 2:42; Rom. 12:4-5; Heb. 13:6). Our fellowship with one another is a reflection of the fellowship that we have with the Lord (1 Cor. 1:9; 1 John 1:3).
Our small groups are also to be shaped by the Word of God. Just as the Word guides our corporate gatherings on Sunday mornings, so it should guide our small groups. This will look differently in each group, but in all groups, there should be a time where scripture is read, explained and people are exhorted. Some groups may, dependent on the leader and attendees, have a longer-form Bible study, where other groups will not.
Wayne Grudem has defined sanctification as, “Sanctification is a progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and like Christ in our actual lives." Our small groups should be places that help us grow in our sanctification. Our fellowship with one another, our “knowing” of one another gives opportunity for us to speak the truths of the Word of God into one another’s lives (1 John 1:6-7). The Bible is clear that Christians do not live in isolation. In the New Testament, there is not a record of a Christian living apart from a community of faith. God’s Word also makes it clear that we need one another to help us see areas of sin in our own lives. The writer of Hebrews says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (10:24).
Our small groups meet in homes, as well as at the church, throughout the week. We encourage all those who are a part of CBC to be a part of one small group meeting, outside of the Sunday morning gatherings. If you are not in a small group talk to one of the pastors and they can find a group for you.