Part of the reason I feel called to small group ministry, and why I’ve made it my life mission to build healthy small group communities where I know life change happens, is because I’ve seen it work. I’ve seen first-hand the work that a healthy community does in a person’s and a family’s life. It’s staggering how many issues in life become manageable when you’re surrounded by people that love you and want God’s best for you.
At one level, I’m a pragmatist. And so are you. If what you believe didn’t work, you’d believe something different. If the Gospel didn’t effectively work to affect change, you’d give up on it. Tell me you’re not a pragmatist when it comes to what you eat for breakfast. Your current breakfast doesn’t fill you up? No matter how healthy you’re trying to be, if you’re not being filled by what you’re consuming, you’ll change it. Your current exercise scheme is producing no results, yet the books tell you it will? You’ll change it to something that gets you the result you want. You’ve got pragmatism in you, too.
But I’m not solely a pragmatist. In fact, I’m not first and foremost a pragmatist. Before “does it work,” I want to know “is it true?” Sure, eating candy for breakfast may “feel” right, and sleeping in every morning may “feel” right, and not disciplining myself in so many other areas of my life may “feel” right, but that doesn’t make them right. 2+2=4 whether I “feel” like it does today or not.
So when it comes to my view of small groups, I want to know they work, but I also want to know “are they true?” and “are they right?” For that, I’ve got to look outside of myself. The Bible is the source for the Church when it comes to authoritative Truth. That’s another post for another day on another site. For now, let’s look at the Scriptures that are replete with Truth that helps us see the value of living life connected in healthy communities. Scriptures that show you you’re better with me…and that I’m better with you.*
Let me share with you my favorite 10 “community” Scriptures.
Top 10 Small Group Verses
1. Hebrews 10:24-25
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
2. Matthew 18:20
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” – Jesus
3. Acts 2:42-47
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe[d] came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
4. Ephesians 4:15-16
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
5. Acts 5:42
And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.
6. John 13:34-35
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – Jesus
7. Galatians 6:1-2
Brothers,[a] if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
8. Hebrews 3:12-14
Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.
9. Psalm 133
Behold, how good and pleasant it is
when brothers dwell in unity![a]
It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down on the collar of his robes!
It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing,
10. 1 John 4:11-13
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
Do you have any favorites you’d like to add to the list?
*Now’s not the time, but 2 overarching truths should guide our theological understanding of and drive towards life in community: God creates and lives in community Himself (a theology of the Trinity); Jesus, though perfect in every way, chose to live in small group life by surrounding himself with 12 men while he was on this earth