< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: The Importance of Participating in Worship and Small Group

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Importance of Participating in Worship and Small Group

Today’s post is still from my teaching The Path to Discipleship, a Methodist study.

Being a follower of Jesus means being in community with other followers of Jesus. We can be religious or spiritual without the presence of other people in our lives, but we cannot be growing disciples of Jesus without the encouragement, guidance, wisdom and accountability of other disciples.

A Methodist missionary once said, “Everyone who belongs to Christ belongs to everyone else who belongs to Christ.” Jesus demonstrated community by calling 12 ordinary men together to become His disciples. And He promised that wherever two or three were gathered in His name, He would be there.
When we focus on God in worship and in small groups, we find that God is already there, ready to fill us with grace and love.

The book of Acts talks about the early church and gives us a good example to follow. The early Christians met together, devoted themselves to the Apostle’s teachings, they fellowshipped with each other, shared, prayed…and the church grew.

One of things we promised when joining the church was our “presence” – in both corporate worship and small group. We gather to experience God, praise God, know God and grow together as disciples of Jesus Christ so that we become a part of God’s transformation of the world.

W we are saved we are given brothers and sisters in Christ. We become a part of the body of Christ. Remember the greatest commandment is Love God AND love others.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

The first Methodists both believed and practiced this principle. The Wesleys began the small group! Charles Wesley wrote, “All praise to our redeeming Lord, who joins us by His grace, and bids us, each to each restored, together seek His face.”

When John Wesley was preaching to thousands he noted that those who were active in small groups grew in their faith and those who were not quickly fell away. Growth to maturity as a disciple of Jesus Christ happens best when each individual disciple is connected to others in the community of a small group.

 

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