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Near Mpumalanga, South Africa, are the marvelous and mysterious Echo Caves. One of the more amazing plants found there is the Wild Fig tree. As far as plant life goes, these fig trees appear to be normal run-of-the-mill fruit bushes. What makes them so famous is the unseen: their roots.
Researchers and spelunking scientists have followed the roots of these trees deep into the Echo Caves — 400 feet deep, to be precise — the deepest known root system in the world. To equate that to popular terms, that is equivalent to 133 yards. The roots of these trees dig deeper than an entire American football field.
I read a quote once but I am not sure who said it. It says, “Family gives your the roots to stand tall and strong.” I love this idea of being rooted in family. Life can be hard at times, we all know that. It can throw so many things at you. Jesus said it best in John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” There WILL be tribulation. That is a guarantee.
So…what can we do about it? How can we withstand the trials and tribulations? The answer is quite difficult to live out but very simple to understand. Be rooted in God’s Word. And one thing that God’s Word says is to live in fellowship with one another (1 John 1:7).
Our way of fellowship in the church is through small groups. Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church says it best in saying, “Small groups are not a ministry of the church, they are the church.” Small groups are everything. And when our small group is our family, it makes all the difference. Because family loves one another through it all, unconditionally and gracefully.
So, with that in mind, let’s look at 7 keys to create a family culture in your small group.
- Accountability – Ask tough questions and help them keep commitments.
- Affirmation – Offer words of encouragement and support and affirm their strengths.
- Assessment – Evaluate their condition objectively and help them gain perspective.
- Acceptance – Provide unconditional love and grace to them even when they fail.
- Advice – Speak words of wise counsel and help them discover options for their decisions.
- Admonition – Offer words of caution and warning so they can avoid pitfalls.
- Application – Direct them to discover how they can practice what they have learned.
While some of these are more difficult than others to exemplify, they are all crucial to creating your family culture. It’s essential to the health of your group to maintain these attributes.
Stitch, from Disney’s Lilo and Stitch, describes family the best. He says, “Ohana means family, family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.” To continue to create and multiply disciples, we have to make sure nobody gets left behind or forgotten. Every individual matters to God. Being rooted in fellowship with one another matters.