In the last 10 years of Australian television, we’ve seen the rise of home renovation shows. “The Block,” “Reno Rumble,” “House rules,” the list goes on! Many of us watch these shows and dream about what we could do to our own home one day with the right budget and team!
We all dream of living in a beautiful house; but it’s possible to have the largest swimming pool, terrific views, ducted reverse cycle air-conditioning, spacious rooms and have still something missing. That’s because a beautiful HOUSE does not necessarily make a HOME.
A home represents so much more than just a living space.
- A home speaks about family.
- A home speaks about encouragement.
- A home speaks about nurture and care.
- A home speaks about belonging.
The Bible tells us that we belong to a house.
But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we are God’s house.
For many of us, the church we belong to is a house. Thank God for our house! But this is only the beginning… We want to take the incredible house that God has called us to be a planted in and turn it into a HOME.
It is very clear to me in the Word of God that;
- God’s agenda is to build homes, not just houses.
- God’s agenda is people, making a home for Himself among people.
- God’s agenda is to welcome the needy into His house, lifting up the fallen, binding up the broken-hearted, healing the wounded, causing this house to become a home.
In Nehemiah 3, every person was assigned a specific place to work. This coordination stands out in phrases such as “next to him,” “next to them,” “next to that,” “the next section,” “beside him,” and “beyond them,” which occur 28 TIMES IN THIS CHAPTER. This was not just about the reconstruction of a wall, but a place where families could come together and unite their energy and efforts SIDE BY SIDE to turn a broken city into a home.
So how can we turn the house we call the local church into our home?
By getting connected into a small group.
It’s in the context of a small group that we see the family of God in action. This is where you build rich, supportive and meaningful relationships and start to understand and appreciate the needs of others. In a small group is where you will see the practical aspects of the love of God.
Five key reasons to connect in a Small Group
1. The power of encouragement
We all need encouragement! In a world where negativity, criticism, fault finding and back-biting reign, it’s important that you find a safe haven of encouragement.
Some may ask, “Can’t I be encouraged on a Sunday?” And the answer is, of course! But not to the depth that a small group can provide. In a small group, you get to know each other on a more personal level, which allows for deeper more meaningful relationships.
2. Our protective barriers come down
Sometimes we like to build protective barriers around our lives, maybe to avoid hurt and disappointment. The sad thing is that when we live without deep and meaningful relationships, life begins to lose its vibrancy and joy. When you begin to go to a small group, there’s an atmosphere where you’re accepted and loved for who you are. In this environment, we’re able to let our walls down and share authentically. This act of authentic connection builds a greater sense of community and belonging.
There are many ways to build relationships and a sense of community but none more time honoured than sharing food! Coming together around a meal, or an antipasto platter as many of our Young Adult leaders boast about, is a simple yet powerful way to build relationships in a relaxed and warm environment. Hospitality is a gift to the body of Christ and a gift to the giver!
3. Protection from the storms of life
My dear brothers and sisters, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
James does not say if, he says when, assuming that at some point we will ALL go through trials.
I was once caught in a thunderstorm in a foreign city without an umbrella. I decided to make a run for it back to my hotel room when an elderly man stopped me and offered me his umbrella. I hesitated at first, but he assured me he didn’t need it and that I was welcome to have it! It was an act of kindness when I needed it most!
This is what a small group is like, they may not be able to stop the storms of life, but a life group is an environment where we can share some wisdom, some encouragement, some prayer and practical help to get you through the storm.
4. The power of multiplication
Adam and Eve were incredible creations individually, but there was fruit, multiplication that came through the power of agreement. When you come into agreement with others, you are able to achieve far more than you ever could on your own.
Let’s take the example of migrating geese. To go from one climate to another, migrating birds must fly long, exhausting distances. Because geese fly together in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds at least 70% more flying range than if each bird flew alone.
Teamwork always trumps individual effort . You might be able to go faster alone, but we can go FURTHER TOGETHER.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. 3 It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing— life forevermore.
5. A proactive outlook
The Bible teaches that every believer is given certain talents or “gifts” to benefit others in the family of God. We are not called to live our Christians lives as Sunday service spectators. We’re called to grow in our gifts so that these might be a benefit others.
Unity instead of rivalry, trust instead of suspicion, obedience instead of self-assertion must rule the disciples’ common labours.
‘Church is not a place you go to; Church is a family you belong to’
– Ps Rick Warren
Coming together with others in a small group on a regular basis encourages you to develop and use the gifts that God has given you. This blesses you and it blesses others!